At the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) 2019, held on 19–21 November at the Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via site, CIT UPC presented new projects developed by research groups and centres of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) as well as technological capabilities and solutions in the areas of digital transformation, the urban environment, mobility, governance and finance, and inclusive cities. At this year’s edition, the IVO robot and the LIDAR L3CAM camera were presented, which are two of the latest technological advances developed at the university in the area of smart cities.
IVO is arobotcreated by the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (IRI) that is adapted to respond to the challenges of collaborative robotics in which humans and robots work together to achieve a common task. IVO is part of the Human Centred Robotics project, focused on involving humans in interaction with the robot on the same task. IVO has been designed to solve situations such as urban accompaniment of people; route planning, navigation and execution; the exploration and recognition of spaces or the manipulation of elements (for which the independent arms of the robot are used), among others. This research is part of a strategic research programme on human centred robotics at the IRI. As a result, the IRI has been recognised as a María de Maeztu research unit of excellence for four years.
The L3CAM camera was also presented. It offers better features than cameras that are already on the market, as it incorporates micromirrors for scanning (common components in video projectors). The camera contains LIDAR technology, so it can determine the distance to an object or surface using a pulsed laser beam and obtain high resolution images. It can also combine 2D and 3D images in real time without the need for processing. It is designed to optimise functioning at long-distance in daytime (up to 100 m) and to obtain images even in complex climatic conditions. It is a camera that is easy to integrate, due to its size, and it needs little maintenance. As it does not contain moving parts it does not need to be recalibrated and is not sensitive to environments with vibrations.
The L3CAM camera has many applications in areas such as robotics, aeronautics, security and defence, the physics of the atmosphere, topography, open pit inspections or the circulation of autonomous vehicles. Specifically, it is optimal for the navigation of vehicles, prevention of accidents, advanced surveillance, detection of obstacles and monitoring, to give some examples. The technology of the new camera, which is protected with over ten patents, has been developed by the Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6) and the spin-off Beamagine, which emerged from CD6.
At SCEWC, the results of other research projects were also presented that are related with various aspects of smart cities, such as the study and detection of areas of residential vulnerability in the city of Barcelona, a 3D architectural model of the Nativity Façade of the Sagrada Família, carried out by the Virtual Innovation in Modelling Architecture and the City Lab (VIMAC), and new technologies for buildings that are more efficient and respectful of the environment, developed by the Renewable Electrical Energy Systems centre (SEER).
In addition, the UPC presented examples of innovative technology for hydrogen production using sunlight, developed by the Nanoengineering of Materials Applied to Energy (NEMEN), and a system for recovering valuable metals from electronic waste such as mobile phones, designed by the Smart Sustainable Resources research group (SSR).
Other projects that were presented include a new solar generator based on the FRESNEL concentration system, developed by the Heat and Mass Transfer Technological Center (CTTC); a social media platform for raising awareness of rare paediatric diseases (Share4Rare), developed by the Bioinformatics and Biomedical Signals Laboratory of the Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CREB), and an application for measuring ionising radiation, developed by the same centre.