A-IQ Ready project and the modern technological challenges

Lampros Patsiouras

Technical Project Manager, June 2023

Modern challenges in a continuously changing environment

Today, European societies face multiple challenges and threats within a continuously evolving environment of geopolitical conflicts, pandemics and climate change that create an avalanche of consequences in the economy and civil safety. More than ever, European industries are highly affected by the difficult economic situation and the energy cost crisis, and at the same time need to align with the technological revolution in the field of Information Technology that transforms the production process and generates added value for the industry. For this scope, research and innovation to overcome the technological and economic challenges are very important for the industries in their transition to Industry 4.0.

Europe should also expand the intelligence capabilities of its existing export products by including selected AI functionalities to cope with its developing ICT environment. In addition, there is a need for investments in operational certainty and resilience of production within Europe. In order to strengthen the innovation and R&D capabilities of the European industry, the design and production of novel sensors, chips and embedded systems that offer the best performance for specific applications across a wide range of sectors should be highly prioritized.

Another aspect of the modern challenges is civil safety and the need for solutions to rescue survivors in collapsed structures or underground places. Urgent situations such as natural disasters and accidents pose many threats to civil and industrial environments and require a quick response, massive human resources mobilization and accurate activities, which are critical for the safety of civilians.

Disruptive technologies based on advanced sensing and distributed intelligence for the navigation of rescuers in subsurface environments are needed. These technologies are not only essential for civil safety but for the aforementioned challenges.

It is widely accepted that the European Union needs to set up a path to a strong, autonomous, and resilient Europe with disruptive technologies at the edge.

How the A-IQ Ready project responds to the modern challenges

Technological solutions that respond to two major trends “Internet of Things (IoT): From 1 Billion $ to 1 Trillion $ revenues” and “From Cloud to Edge”, could help Europe face the current challenges in economy and civil safety. A-IQ Ready is a European research project that aims to address these trends by applying three disruptive technologies, namely: Quantum sensors, Neuromorphic acceleration and AI in multi-agent systems to build the edge continuum as the digital backbone for Society 5.0. The project led by AVL List GmbH brings together 49 partners including large companies, SMEs and Research and Technology organizations and its duration is 36 months. A-IQ Ready stands for Artificial Intelligence using Quantum measured Information for Real-time distributed systems at the edge. The project plans to fulfil the vision of intelligent and autonomous Electronic Components and Systems (ECS) to deliver the A-IQ IoT of the digital age.

Novel quantum sensors for highly accurate measurements and minimum calibration needs could be used in localization systems that would enhance the accuracy of autonomous agents that collaborate through AI to perform difficult operations. The combination of quantum sensors will generate sensing capabilities of the edge continuum with high accuracy. Finally, the use of distributed intelligence will allow the efficient collaboration of autonomous agents on the edge with emergent behaviour. These advancements will utilize solutions in the fields of mobility, civil safety, rescue and search and digital health.

A-IQ Ready is characterized by five main objectives: (O1) Increase sensing accuracy, reliability and trustworthiness in complex environments with new multi-physics (quantum) sensors, (O2) Provide AI methods for multi-agent autonomy in uncertain environments, (O3) Provide a reference open AI Edge Continuum platform integrating quantum sensors, neuromorphic (cognitive) computing and AI algorithms at the edge, (O4) Demonstrate the approach to build the digital society, (O5) Increase Europe’s competitivity in developing a safe, resilient, and prosperous digital society.

The project is structured in clusters of relevant research topics that interact with each other, named Supply Chains (SC) that aim to showcase completed solutions in modern technological problems regarding civil safety, propulsion health, digital health, AI-based infrastructures and sensing technologies.

Digital health of operators

Monitoring and assessment of driver’s status in real-time is of critical importance for driving safety. Various approaches have been developed for the recognition and evaluation of health status or driver’s abnormal behaviour, associated with face recognition for drowsiness detection, indirect events (e.g. movement of steering wheel) or detection of changes in the cabin environment. More specifically, current solutions leverage methods for detecting fatigue in the eye and facial expressions through the camera system. However, this method can detect drowsiness in a limited context.

Alternative methods utilizing contact and contactless technologies for improved detection of drowsiness/fatigue by evaluating different biometric parameters of the driver are in the stage of research. These methods include Radar sensors for the measurement of respiratory rate or wearable devices for the measurement of heart rate.

Additionally, air quality sensors for the measurement of harmful gases that could affect drivers’ health and awareness. However, there is a lack of a combined method of fatigue detection and sleepiness prediction based on physiological and environmental parameters that could allow emergent mitigation actions for the driver’s safety.

A-IQ Ready and its SC3: Digital Health and Emergency Recognition for Driver and Operator aim to demonstrate methodologies and tools to shift from drowsiness detection to precise sleepiness prediction. The SC will develop AI methodologies and models for the evaluation of various data coming from sensing devices (including gas and physiological sensors) of the in-cabin environment, supported by the respective ontology. These developments will allow improved assessment of drivers’ health status and the identification of drivers’ misbehaviors, contributing to the driver’s safety.

ITML in the A-IQ Ready project

ITML is a technology Software provider in the project. Its role is to support the developments of SC3 and provide intelligent mechanisms for data analytics at the edge, leading to improved efficiency, exploitability, scalability and latency. ITML will also deploy its complementary expertise in ensuring trustworthiness and security of data management mechanisms, as well as validation and assessment of datasets.

More specifically, ITML will develop a data fusion, flow and management system to collect data from in-cabin sensors, that are analyzed by AI-based algorithms in the edge for fatigue and sleepiness detection and prediction. Data will be distributed to a demonstrator vehicle system that will perform automated actions to secure the driver, based on the inputs of the health status. Additionally, ITML will contribute to the validation and assessment of datasets produced by the sensors and simulation.

Co-funded by the European Union

The project receives funding within the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking (KDT JU) – the Public-Private Partnership for research, development and innovation under Horizon Europe – and National Authorities under grant agreement n° 101096658.

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