I-ALLOW: secure monitoring by day and night
The EU-funded I-ALLOW project focused on designing and developing a camera system that functions outdoors, in all weather conditions (including fog, snow and heavy rain). The system will monitor critical infrastructure such as railways, motorways, and harbours. It performs better than standard video, which does not provide a clear view in darkness or bad weather.
Indeed, the camera developed by the I-ALLOW project uses multi-spectral imaging, which records images using additional wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. As a result, it captures details that may not be visible to the human eye. The images are then processed to identify critical situations in real time: persons in forbidden areas, or dangerous manoeuvres by vehicles. The aim of the project was to improve the safety of different transport infrastructures and the people using them, taking an approach that is innovative and low cost.
The new camera system is based on the integration of several innovative elements such as the sensor, the illuminator and several artificial intelligence-like algorithms. The camera is controlled remotely and can be configured to send automatic alerts. The project consortium, coordinated by a group of European research organisations, pooled expertise in a range of areas. It worked with potential end-users of the system: SMEs and companies managing a railway, a highway and a harbour respectively. Other potential customers are likely to be traffic management organisations and public authorities with responsibilities for roads.
A further new technology is also being developed as an unforeseen result of the project’s research: a new application to detect the number of passengers in a car through the windscreen, without the usual problems linked to interference from reflected light. The consortium is also planning to carry out work to improve the sensor capabilities needed for self-driving cars.
I-ALLOW in brief
- Total Budget: EUR 2 409 223 (EU contribution: EUR 2 409 223)
- Duration: 01/2015-04/2017
- Countries involved: Belgium (coordinator), Israel, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Poland
Key figures in the European Union
- Safety and security sensors mostly use photonics technologies such as cameras.
- The European Commission is investing EUR 700 million from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) on photonics.
- Europe is very strong in sectors such as defence and security photonics and machine vision, with market shares of about 25% and 35% respectively in 2017.
High Performance Computing (HPC)
HPC, also known as supercomputers, refers to computing systems able to process huge amounts of data and realise complex calculations in record time. Its potential range of uses is vast, including better treatments and personalised healthcare, the prevention and management of large-scale natural disasters, the development of complex encryption technologies, and the production of more innovative goods and services.
In January 2018 the European Commission launched a major initiative on supercomputing – the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking – to create with Member States an integrated world-class supercomputing and data infrastructure and encourage European contribution to this field. It is expected to be operational before the end of 2018. The Commission’s proposed new Digital Europe Programme, with an overall budget of EUR 9.2 billion, also includes EUR 2.7 billion of funding for HPC.