The timing could not have been better. EXODRONICS’s successful bid to the Spanish centre for technological innovation – CDTI – was still in the last stages of contract preparation when the company launched its first fixed-wing drone C2-L last November.
Design or coincidence – this meant that the CATUAV / Mas Vinyoles Hub Spin-off was ideally placed to engage with managers of the roads and traffic sector who had come to see the show.
The contacts established with public agents such as Generalitat de Catalunya (Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat (DTES) – Direcció General d’Infraestructures de Mobilitat (DGIM)) is exactly what projects in the CERVERA programme need at the outset – a check that the technologies integration proposed for the project (Ref Blog 10) is orientated to fulfilling end-users’ real needs.
Stratotrans: Objectives, needs & technology integration
StratoTrans aims to produce prototypes (drone + IoT platform) specifically aimed at facilitating roads infrastructure and traffic management. Getting a deeper understanding of user needs has given momentum and focus to Exodronics’ negotiations with its technology provider collaborators: Eurecat (Computer Vision-based image processing and Cybersecurity), CATUAV (drone manufacture) and Nexiona (ICT platform).
The (External Collaborators’) Kick-off Meeting held at Mas Vinyoles Hub was all about taking these needs on-board and understanding the interactions and iterations required from the Team. Exodronic’s CTO, Dr Cristian Padró took advantage of the occasion to present the progress made in defining Test-beds – an additional aspect of work developed with DGIM.
In keeping with Exodronic’s mission of providing answers from the sky both rotary and fixed wing drones will be employed to collect the range of image data that will be used to develop algorithms and provide a comprehensive set of solutions for roads and traffic management ( more about the project methods).
Project coordination and reporting
In the CERVERA programme, CDTI awards the grant to a single beneficiary, i.e. the company with the capability to take the new solutions to the marketplace. Exodronic’s CEO, Jordi Crespo used the meeting not only to present Exodronics’ Team but also the project’s Coordinating Group to the Collaborators; it is the Coordinating Group that will carry out Stratotrans project management and ensure all the work is on-track and on-time in line with CDTI’s reporting requirements.
Traffic Engineer’s endnote
As a freelance consultant with considerable experience in mobility innovation projects (but new to drones) I am excited about the opportunity that Stratotrans, to look at road traffic problems from the air. The agenda of Urban Air Mobility looms (where drones transfer objects from A to B) and I read about swarms of drones creating their own communications network sometime in the future. Between these research poles I learn about what different types of drone can do as composite mobile sensors.
The early contribution from DGIM is enlightening in terms of roads inspection but it also establishes their interest in video-based traffic data collection. Exodronics’ preliminary data collection was presented at the External Collaborators’ Kick-off meeting. Looking at the work of researchers such as Li et al. and Kahn et al. various frameworks for UAV video processing for trajectory extraction are emerging upon which research partner eurecat can develop its work.
I have worked with IoT platforms and can appreciate how these can improve the information that practitioners can access. There are clearly many challenges ahead to bring together the technologies and to create tools from these new sensors. It is inspiring to work with Exodronics and its Team of Collaborators – looking to find ways of putting it all together that can make a tangible impact.
1“UAV IoT Framework Views and Challenges: Towards Protecting Drones as “Things””, Thomas Lagkas, Argyriou V., Bibi S. & Sarigiannidis P., Sensors 2018, 18, 4015; doi:10.3390/s18114015
2 “An Adaptive Framework for Multi-Vehicle Ground Speed Estimation in Airborne Videos”, Jing Li, Chen S., Zhang F., Li E., Yang T. & Lu Z., Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1241; doi:10.3390/rs11101241
3 “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Based Trafﬁc Analysis: A Case Study for Shockwave Identiﬁcation and Flow Parameters Estimation at Signalized Intersections”, Muhammad Arsalan Khan, Ectors W., Bellemans T., Janssens D. & Wets G., Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 458; doi:10.3390/rs10030458
StratoTrans (part of CDTI’s CERVERA Transfer Programme) kicks off