STII newly awarded proposals

2/18/2021 McCall Macomber and Angeli Jayme

The Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative is pleased to announce that eight projects were awarded on Feb. 4, 2021. Led by University of Illinois professors, the newly awarded projects are as follows:

Application-Network Co-design for V2V Sensor Streaming
Radhika Mittal and Saurabh Gupta (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is susceptible to a high degree of network bandwidth variations caused by mobility and obstacles. This project will establish an application-network co-design approach to meet stringent performance requirements of latency-sensitive applications for V2V communications. Researchers aim to overcome the challenges of designing the application, network stack and intermediate interfaces to enable adaptability, while showcasing significantly improved performance than the state of the art.

Autonomous Vehicle-based Quantum Communication Network
Paul G. Kwiat (Physics) and Eric Chitambar (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Quantum communication channels use single and “entangled” photons to transmit provably secure messages and instructions, enable improved sensors and link together remote quantum processing nodes. The project’s goal is to apply quantum enhancements toward securing autonomous vehicle communication. Researchers will demonstrate preliminary systems to distribute free-space quantum-secured random keys to and between drones, moving vehicles and stationary platforms, along with theoretically exploring new protocols such as quantum position verification for networks including mobile platforms.

Enabling Self-healing in Flexible and Rigid Pavements via Advanced Micro-capsules
Ramez Hajj and Nishant Garg (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Although the desire to incorporate self-healing materials into pavement infrastructure has been evident, scalable, cost-effective, and practical demonstrations for highways and airfields are lacking. The project aims to develop the most scalable technology for self-healing of Portland cement concrete, including the use of capsules filled with asphalt binder. Researchers will explore the mechanism of the asphalt-filled microcapsule to rupture, fill and repair cracks via laboratory and field demonstrations.

eVTOL Configuration Understanding, Development and Design
Jason M. Merret and Phil J. Ansell (Aerospace Engineering)
Leveraging the development of personal air vehicles in the past 10 years, this project aims to evaluate the design elements and requirements of air vehicles. It will help establish a platform within the I-ACT testing arena for sub-scale and full-scale assessment of propulsion, aerodynamics, performance and acoustics — with the overarching goal to create environmentally friendly and unobtrusive solutions for the transportation ecosystem.

Modeling and Testing Autonomous and Shared Multimodal Mobility Services for Low-density Rural Areas
Xin Chen (Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering) and Yanfeng Ouyang (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Recent developments in transformative technologies may provide solutions for affordable transportation services to rural areas, alleviating the resulting social inequality through efficient planning and management of complex transportation systems and system-wide interactions among multiple modes. This project aims to address such challenges by building a series of holistic and tractable models on the design of mobility services, capacity planning, dynamic matching and routing, along with the associated pricing. The village of Rantoul, Illinois, will serve as the case study and will lay the foundation for strategic and operational decisions for large-scale autonomous and shared mobility systems in rural areas.

Safe Operation of Connected Vehicles in Complex and Unforeseen Environments
Naira Hovakimyan (Mechanical Science and Engineering)
This project aims to advance state-of-the-art technologies by designing proactive and reactive adaptation and learning architecture for connected vehicles and unifying techniques in spatio-temporal data fusion, machine learning and robust adaptive control. The project also seeks to shape the foundation for autonomous driving on cloud-connected highways.

Safety Test Autonomous Vehicles with Augmented Reality
Shenlong Wang and David A. Forsyth (Computer Science)
This project aims to create virtual traffic participants with risky behaviors and seamlessly insert virtual events into real images, as perceived from the physical world. By exploiting the power of augmented reality, researchers will develop safe and cost-effective tests for autonomous vehicles under critical traffic-safety scenarios.

Sensing Infrastructure for Smart Mobility — Wireless Continuous Monitoring for I-ACT
Erol Tutumluer, Bill Spencer and J. Riley Edwards (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Researchers aim to develop a conceptual design for sensing infrastructure for smart mobility, which will automatically report condition states for smart, autonomous and multimodal transportation, as well as implement wireless, continuous monitoring for infrastructure sensing. The benefits include improved safety and reliability of roads, bridges and shared mobility, as well as digital twin virtual models for multi-scale and multi-physics modeling efforts of transportation resiliency.


The goal of the projects is to develop exploratory research ideas that engage disciplines and departments across campus, collect preliminary data or other information to develop a research project, and prepare and submit research proposals for external funding to support the Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track (I-ACT), a large multi-investigator effort of the Grainger College of Engineering, the University of Illinois and the State of Illinois.

A consortium of consulting companies is currently designing the Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track, and a conceptual video of the track is available here.

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