Research Areas

Electric, Connected, Autonomous and Shared Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Electric, Connected, Autonomous and Shared (ECAS) Vehicles include the full range of transport vehicles, including trucks, buses, trains, metros, ships, drones, helicopters, and airplanes and they have the potential to make land, air, and marine operations safer, faster, more efficient, and greener, contributing to both, the adapted Vision Zero, including work-related deaths as a new central element, and to the European Green Deal initiative.

The European Green Deal defines 4 key elements for a sustainable mobility and automotive industry, namely: climate neutrality, zero pollution Europe, sustainable transport, and the transition to a circular economy.

The greatest challenge for the success of ECAS vehicles is safety and the resulting trust in autonomy which in turn represents the prominent driving force to reach a high user acceptance. Without addressing these issues across the entire Electronic Components and Systems (ECS) value chain, we will not be able to fully use the technological and commercial potentials of autonomous systems in general.

The lab investigates all key findings and challenges related to ECS and architectures for future mass market ECAS vehicles and performs research on the following topics:

  • fusion and perception digital platforms for efficient and federated computing efficient propulsion and energy modules advanced connectivity for cooperative mobility applications 
  •  vehicle/edge/cloud computing integration concepts intelligent components based on trustworthy AI techniques and methods. 
  • Perception enhanced with Operational Design Domains (ODD) attributes 
  • ODD-aware decision-making and planning for cross domain applications 
  •  Monitoring and control solutions for ECAS vehicles 
  • ECAS user acceptance

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – or simply drones, refer to aircraft without pilots or passengers, typically remote-controlled, often with some degree of autonomy. While drones initially found application in the military sector, technological progression allowed them to enter the recreational sector and we now start to see them on the fringes of the commercial environment. In parallel, technical components and subsystems that are application-optimized (cost-, performance- and reliability-wise) and focus on highly automated drones, benefit from expertise in other domains, especially when it comes to ECS, such as the automotive one, and make drones operate beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) with a rather high degree of autonomy. 

Research and innovation are mostly reflected in drones equipped with functionality for avoiding any obstacles and flying (with a high degree of autonomy) from point A to point B.

The lab performs research on the following topics:

  • AI-enabled software and hardware solutions bringing together autonomous drones with AI-enabled (robotics) innovations,
  • functional and safe lightweight ECS and related process technologies for autonomous, intelligent, and safe drones
  • AI-enabled algorithms and management functionality for Low weight, low power, and high-performance components (e.g., sensors and actuators) for drones capable of carrying out complex airborne tasks
  • Highly reliable systems and protocols for control and communication among drones, as well as between drones and ground systems

Our ultimate goal is to create a positive impact on the European semiconductors and ECS manufacturing industries, establishing core competencies in the domain of drones and related professional applications and creating a new strong European ecosystem. This will, in other words, enforce the European drone industry that lies now behind the US and China, bringing it to the forefront of the international market and therefore contributing to its sovereignty in an emerging and booming market.

Connected Health​

AI-enabled computing algorithms for cross domain applications in the digital industry

The EU directives towards “ICT for Health activities” address the “health management” continuum from lifestyle to disease management, including disease prevention and management of comorbidities. This will be complemented by the research in the computational modeling of human physiology paving the way for the next generation of healthcare services to enable patient empowerment and safer, more personalized care.

The health especially of elderly people, as well as people with chronic diseases is of particular importance for future societies. Such people need:

  • to be continuously monitored at @home so as to prevent undesirable situations deriving from their diseases;
  • to be effectively treated on a permanent basis in accordance with their individualized needs and
  • to be psychologically supported through feeling autonomic and free.

All of the above should be realized in a cost-efficient manner for elderly people, relatives, medical centers, and insurance companies. Although the underlying required technologies and SW and HW components are to a great extent available or at least possible to realize, end-to-end systems that can meet the requirements of pervasive secure, and safe patient management services, are far from realization today.

In this respect, the design and development of complex distributed systems for medical purposes present important challenges.

The icsa Lab conducts research in the following areas:

  • design and development of advanced electronic healthcare applications
  • design and development of autonomic management systems for the provision of individualized services to patients at @home
  • design, development, implementation, and validation of end-to-end platforms for ubiquitous access to e-health services and applications
  • design and development of Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) appropriately structured per disease
  • design and development of telesurgery systems
  • design and development of advanced patient monitoring through medical and non-medical sensors (e.g., in intelligent home environments)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can act as a valid means to bring the next big thing in the digital industry, namely Industry5.0, into reality, in a “sustainable” manner, since:.

  • AI technologies like non-causal reasoning, behaviour-based approach, cognitive modelling, semantic technologies, neuromorphic computing, etc., offer flexible responses to new situations and constellations popping up unexpectedly, faster adaptations, a priori reconfigurations of complex systems, higher quality / higher yields / fewer defects, errors and lower complexity and failure rates.
  • AI is considered very important for sovereignty, i.e., (i) expansion of existing collaborations and networking between companies; and (ii) cooperation using platform solutions, which is essential for the competitiveness of regional companies and supply chains.
  • AI has luckily also an enormous potential to benefit environmental sustainability and pave the way to a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing sector, solving a number of critical issues, such as the excessive use of certain materials, redundant production of scrap waste, inefficient supply chain management, logistics and unequal distribution of energy resources.
  • AI can pave the way for the future skills quest in the European labour force, increase competence and further support human initiative and contribution to modern sustainable manufacturing.

The lab is therefore active in the following indicative research domains:

  1. AI-enabled electronic components and systems (ECS) for sustainable production
  2. AI tools, methods andalgorithmsfor sustainable industrial processes
  3. SoS-based architectures and micro-services for AI-supported sustainable production
  4. Semantic modelling and data integration
  5. Technology acceptance, explainable AI and trust

Technology Acceptance Modeling

New technologies need to ensure it has the highest possible impact in various dimensions, namely from maximizing benefits to all involved stakeholders and the society as a whole, through integrating novel technologies and approaches and offering a superior degree of versatility and reliability. A lot of research is currently being performed in the area of user and technology acceptance. Indicatively, in the domain of connected and automated vehicles, surveys show that the public has begun to embrace the portrayal of highly automated vehicles in which the human driver has no supervisory control thus, more studies are required to fully explore the predictors influencing consumers’ attitudes and willingness to use such technologies. 

The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the (Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology) UTAUT are investigated in many cases to understand consumers’ intentions. 
The goal is twofold:
  1.  to monitor the current levels of technology acceptance on behalf of various stakeholders
  2. to obtain feedback from the stakeholders and influence future product development.
The lab performs research in the following areas:
  • enhancement of technology acceptance models (e.g. TAM, UTAUT, etc.) on a per-domain basis
  • organization and carrying out of surveys – assessment of results
  • analysis of socioeconomic aspects and investigation of the user acceptance of various technologies
  • development training tools and intervention methods
  • analysis of existing business and revenue models and sketch new revenue models to ensure sustainable business exploitation of various technologies