It seems obvious that driving automation needs new capabilities from the vehicle, lots of sensors have to be integrated to understand what is happening around, short and long range communication systems have to be developed to understand what is happening a little bit further, but, what about the occupants and their safety?
In the frame of Integra project, Cidaut is taking care of the occupants and their safety by modifying the design of the vehicle interior in accordance to the new needs. The first step is to know what is happing inside, with a webcam the occupants are recorded and thanks to the artificial intelligence the information is immediately processed to get relevant information. The functionalities developed by now include, the recognition of the occupant, the counting of flickers and yawns along time, the inclination of the head, the direction of the glance and the position and distance of the body. By processing all this information it is possible to know the alertness level of the driver and the position of all the occupants.
The alertness level is relevant for both standard and automated driving. In the case of the standard driving, the system can detect drowsiness, distraction or illness and alert the driver and/or the rest of the users of the road of this circumstance. In the case of the automated driving, mainly at level 3, it will be possible to alternate the responsibility of the driving between the vehicle and the driver. When the vehicle needs to take over the driving responsibility to the human, it has to be sure that the driver is ready to assume the control of the vehicle, thanks to the application developed it is easy to make this transition in a safety way.
The position of the occupants is also critical for their safety. The high automated levels of driving, mainly 3, 4 and 5, will allow the occupants to take positions inside the vehicle different from standardized ones. In these positions the usual restrain systems are unable to protect the occupants in a proper way. Attending to this, it is necessary to develop new restrain systems suitable for the driving scenarios linked to the automated position and it is also necessary to monitor the occupants position in order to activate the new restrains systems in the most suitable manner attending to the kind of collision, the biometric characteristics of the occupant, and the position.
The work driving to these results is been performed in INTEGRA project, funded by and CDTI through Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the frame of the funding for Excellence in Research Centers “Cervera”. CER – 2021 1031.
The official opening of this event was carried out by Mr. Jesús Jiménez de Miguel (ICE’s Valladolid Territorial Director), who remarked the importance that the participation in this kind of Research Programmes has for the Region.
Next, Mr. Francisco Núñez (Project Manager in the Technology Transfer Office of CIDAUT) presented useful information that anyone interested in submitting a proposal to the Horizon Europe Programme should know and have in mind to do it.
Mr. Enrique Pelayo (National Contact Point for Cluster 4 regarding Digital Technologies in the CDTI) show all the attendants not only important information about the call which is currently open for the proposal submission, but he also spoke about the future opportunities inside this cluster and the latest news available about important initiatives like the European Chips Act, which will be surely reflected in the next future European calls.
Cluster 4 – Digital NCPs
This interesting presentation was followed by Mr. Carlos Toledo (National Contact Point for Cluster 4 regarding Industrial Technologies in the CDTI) that made a deep review of all the topics that the current call has opened, including practical aspects and issues that should be considered to prepare a competitive proposal.
Cluster 4 – Industry NCPs
The event continued with a very detailed presentation done by Mrs. Isabel Pelaez (European Programmes Unit of the Institute for Business Competitiveness of Castilla y León (ICE)) about the Different services to impulse the participation of Castilla and Leon companies in the Horizon Europe Programme and other European RTD Programmes.
Finally, Mr. Francisco Núñez closed the event explaining the training and support Program for R&D Business Centr@Tec3.
Centr@tec3´s aim is to transfer innovative solutions and relevant technologies in each thematic area to entities and organizations in Castilla y León, through demonstrative actions and training of their technicians and managers, with the ultimate aim of encouraging companies to incorporate innovations and new technologies that will make them more competitive.
Centr@Tec3 includes different actions and activities for SMEs, self employed professionals and entrepreneurs, encircled mainly around the following 5 big thematic areas: Support of the Internationalization of RTD activities, Increase of the awareness, demonstration and training, Support of the Digital Transformation, Innovation in Processes and Design of new Products and Services and Technologic Entrepreneurs support.
Fundación CIDAUT has several years being part of the STEM Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Spain. This initiative tries to promote the female enrolment in STEM careers. To achieve this objective, huge amount of work is being done to impulse and disseminate information about the professional opportunities that the STEM careers can offer to young students. This dissemination process is performed having advantage of the experience of relevant female researchers, in important positions within the different institutions that collaborate with the initiative, the adequate school guidance through mentoring processes and, of course, counting with the adequate support of the students’ families.
In this framework, CIDAUT has organized on 26 of January a workshop titled “Passive vehicle safety, correct and incorrect use of seat belts”, that was imparted by Mrs. Susana Escalante, Industrial Engineer and Director of the CIDAUT Impact Testing Department. The workshop was focused to 16 young high school female students with the intention of raise the awareness about researching inside vehicle safety systems and Intelligent Transport technologies.
In this sense, thanks to the INTEGRA national project, in which the Center is currently taking part, they have been able to discover how autonomous vehicles, capable of imitating human behaviour regarding handling and control, perceiving the environment that surrounds them, are going to become real in a next future.
On the 17th of November, CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) has organized a meeting between relevant stakeholders in the automotive sector from Spain and Ohio in order to find synergies between both regions.
The main objective of the event is to present the technological capabilities of the automotive sector, both from Spain and Ohio, and promote technological cooperation between Spanish and American entities in this technological field. The event has consisted of a first part in which the sector in Spain and the State of Ohio have briefly exposed and, subsequently, the technological capabilities of the Spanish and American entities participating in the event have been briefly presented.
The institutional opening has corresponded to Mr. Jonathan Bridges. Managing Director, Automotive, Steel, & White Goods at JobsOhio and Mr. Javier Ponce, General Manager at CDTI. After the introduction to the event, it has been the turn of the Spanish participants, where Cecilia Median from Sernauto has made a quick and precise overview of the Spanish automotive sector; Javier Romo from Cidaut has presented Integra Consortium, where four research and development centers, Cidaut, CTAG, Itene and i2cat, are collaborating to foster the implementation of safe and resilient automated driving solutions; Rodrigo Castiñeira from Indra Sistemas has explained their vision of mobility in the horizon 2030; José Manuel Mínguez from Ferroglobe Innovation has presented charging infrastructure solutions and new evolutions on lithium ion batteries; José Jesús Molinero, from Begas Motor has presented innovative solutions for sustainable mobility in cities oriented to the development of new power train configurations; Luke Stedke from Drive Ohio has shown success cases in the region of Ohio related to automated, connected, electrified and shared mobility; and Eric Philips from Union County and Marysville has presented the smart mobility corridor developed in the route 33.
The closing remarks were made by Mrs. María J. Fernández. Trade Commissioner. Trade Commission of Spain in Chicago. Embassy of Spain in the USA. Additional actions are planned to enhance collaborations at both side of the Atlantic to foster the integration of innovative mobility solutions.
The Spanish Railway Technology Platform (PTFE), whose technical secretariat is provided by the Spanish Railways Foundation, held its 16th Annual Assembly at the headquarters of the Spanish Railways Foundation on 17 November. This year the assembly returned to its normal on-site format. The meeting was chaired by Enrique Playán, Director of the Spanish Research Agency of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and José Carlos Domínguez Curiel, Manager of the Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles.
Within the framework of the European Year of the Railway, the PTFE focused its debate on national and international R&D&I strategies, support instruments for the sector and the disruptive innovation vectors that will drive the railway mode in its consolidation as the backbone of sustainable, connected and safe mobility.
As usual in the PTFE Annual Assembly, the meeting included a specific session for the exhibition of innovative projects that ratify the capabilities of the ecosystem and have a positive impact on the competitiveness of the sector. Technology developments and new elements were presented by leading researchers and experts from different organisations.
On behalf of CIDAUT, Alfonso Horrillo contributed with the advances being made on renewable ammonia and bioethanol as hydrogen carriers in the railway. These developments will go deeper into the possibilities that the use of this energy will favour even more the energy efficiency that characterises the railway mode.
The 16th Annual Assembly ended with the presentation of the innovation strategies of two of the benchmark driving forces for the Spanish railway sector: RENFE and ADIF. The significant impact on the decline in rail transport caused by COVID-19, the liberalisation process, the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the development of ERJU (Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking), etc., have led to a review of the strategies of railway operators and managers in which the commitment to innovation is going to be a transcendental factor.
The most relevant innovation strategies and projects (own, collaborative and win win) were presented by Pilar Gorriz, Renfe’s Innovation Manager and José Conrado Martínez, Deputy Director of Innovation, both of whom explained their open approach to collaboration in the development of their innovation with the sector. Their organisations have a high potential to lead and undertake competitive and business processes that involve bringing innovations to the market with a greater potential for success.
Last November, two relevant events took place at national and European level in the field of energy and hydrogen, which CIDAUT had the opportunity to attend.
On 16, 17 and 18 November, the 24th edition of the Energy and Environment Fair, GENERA, was held in Madrid. The Spanish Hydrogen Association, AeH2, organised on 16 November, in collaboration with the Spanish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (PTE HPC), the conference ‘Green Hydrogen: towards a sustainable energy system’, which was attended by CIDAUT.
This day began with a brief welcome by Miguel Peña, secretary of AeH2, followed by a short introduction by Javier Brey, president of the Association, who began by stating that “interest in hydrogen in Spain is growing exponentially, not only in industry, but also among the population. This interest is more than justified due to the great potential of these technologies to move towards the decarbonisation of our economy”.
Subsequently, two round tables were held with the presence of representatives from the main entities involved in the hydrogen sector. The first round table, with the participation of Carlos de la Cruz Molina, Director of Evaluation and Technological Cooperation of the CDTI, and Santiago González, Head of Renewable Hydrogen in the Department of Regulatory Framework and Corporate Strategy of the IDAE, debated hydrogen as a reactivator of the economy. The second round table was entitled: “Accelerating the development of hydrogen in Spain”. It was attended by the directors and heads of the hydrogen areas of the AeH2 promoter partners.
At European level, the European Hydrogen Week 2021 (EHW 2021) was held in Brussels from 29 November to 3 December. In this edition a hybrid organisation between on-site and online was chosen. CIDAUT attended virtually to the different presentations that took place.
The Week discussed the tremendous opportunities associated with the production and use of hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels in the different sectors of the economy and how hydrogen will play a key role in the European Green Deal. The EHW2021 marked the public launch of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership – as the successor of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). This edition featured sessions on the future research and deployment priorities for Clean Hydrogen as well the FCH JU Programme Review Days and the FCH JU Awards. The week will also saw the third European Clean Hydrogen Alliance Forum uniting its 1500 members. Topics covered the entire value chain needed to realise the hydrogen economy, scaling-up production, infrastructure, and end-use sectors, research and innovation priorities as well as skills and education.