Researchers from the ai2 Institute of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have developed a new proof of concept of a hardware and software architecture for an autonomous bus.

The first results were presented on April 25 in Valencia, within the framework of the METROPOLIS project meeting, in which the polytechnic universities of Madrid, Catalonia and Cartagena also participate and which is coordinated by Carnet -Future Mobility Research Hub- of Barcelona.

The project, which will last until September 2024 and is now halfway through, will begin in approximately a month and a half the use case that it plans to develop in the HOV bus lane of Madrid on the A6, which reaches the Moncloa interchange, as indicated by the academic institution in a statement.

METRÓPOLIS contemplates the installation of cameras inside ALSA buses, project partner, to collect data on passenger traffic and people flows in the interchange basin. Based on these data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms will be developed to better manage that route, traffic and the need for more or less frequent buses.

The job of the ai2-UPV researchers involved in the project is to export the technology that they have been developing for more than a decade and that is already used in hundreds of satellites, to the autonomous bus.

The main researcher of the METROPOLIS project at the UPV, Patricia Balbastre, has pointed out that the idea “is for this autonomous vehicle to work with isolated applications, just as it happens in satellites, so as to gain efficiency and confidentiality between applications” .

Along these lines, another use case will be put into practice in Barcelona in a few months, in this case, related to the delivery of goods. In this context, the ai2 will design the necessary software and hardware architecture for an autonomous delivery vehicle that can access the urban area, unload and continue with its route.

Balbastre has indicated that “they are proofs of concept of possible use cases that could occur in the future and that, obviously, depend on the adaptation, especially sensorization, of the cities.”

“I do not believe that the use of these autonomous vehicles is an immediate reality because they need to be very well certified to ensure that they will not fail at any time,” he stated, while adding that “in sectors such as aeronautics or space , that is to say, for airplanes and satellites, there are already very defined certification standards, but not for mobility in cities, but precisely for this reason it is necessary to continue researching in this line”.

The METROPOLIS project, which works on all these lines to design the cities of the future, is funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and will allow the collection of a large amount of data with the aim of making decisions on transport routes for goods and passengers, seek solutions to avoid traffic jams, and make mobility in cities safer and more sustainable in general.

The researcher stressed that the objective is to “continue investigating these issues in order to achieve comprehensive solutions.” “The idea of ​​partitioned architectures will make it possible for the autonomous vehicle not only to allow driverless driving, but to be able to incorporate additional functionalities and applications isolated from each other to, for example, collect traffic data,” she concluded.