The introduction of wireless connectivity in industrial environments promises a rapid and cost-effective reconfiguration of machines and sensors. A key question in this context is: Which wireless technology is best suited for industrial settings? Many of the prevalent technologies, like WiFi and ZigBee, do not meet the requirements of certain industrial applications in terms of data rate, power consumption, and robustness. The lack of alternatives capable of achieving a good balance between these conflicting goals impedes progress. This is why researchers from the University of Klagenfurt, Airbus, and Lakeside Labs investigate the use of ultra-wideband (UWB) communications for wireless connectivity in industrial environments. Interestingly, UWB is commonly used for localization but is not yet an option for communications. Experiments with IEEE 802.15.4-2011 UWB devices were conducted in two industrial scenarios, namely a large-size aircraft assembly hangar and a medium-size production hall. These measurements are the first ones reported for off-the-shelf UWB devices in such setting and shed light on the potential of UWB to support emerging industrial applications. Jorge F. Schmidt, a senior researcher in …
Wherever several clocks tick simultaneously, it is tricky to get them all to display precisely the same time. This can be a challenge for drone swarms that are airborne together. To tackle this problem, young scientist Agata Gniewek is developing new technologies.
A novel boarding solution for cabin-based transport systems — e.g., ski lifts, cable cars, subways — is being discussed in industry and has already been implemented in the Austrian skiing resort Bad Gastein: In order to avoid long queues at succeeding boarding stations, a display in the boarding area tells the guests how many of them are allowed to enter the next cabin. This form of access control guarantees spare seats for passengers waiting at the middle station to go to the top station. The overall objective is to install fair access conditions at all stations which would automatically improve waiting time and comfort of passengers. We expect some system intelligence to compute the number of passengers to enter at each station and adapt this number in real time according to the varying passenger load. Compared to extensions or modifications of tracks, cabins, or cabin vehicles, access control would be an inexpensive solution to optimize systems. Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs are currently assessing as to whether such access control can …
A multidisciplinary team at the University of Klagenfurt is due to deliver initial insights on the efficient operation of a drone-based delivery network. Doctoral student Pasquale Grippa will present the results at the Robotics: Science and Systems event taking place at MIT this week.
Did you observe that lately more and more tech products and business processes have features of self-organization? Almost every major car maker has been testing self-driving vehicles and is now introducing them to the market. The industry is crazy about “industry 4.0”—which promises self-organizing production with humans, machines, and products collaborating to make decentralized decisions. These are just two examples for the ongoing trend toward more self-* properties in tech systems, e.g., self-configuration, self-optimization, and self-healing. Such paradigm shift from centralized, managed systems to decentralized, autonomous systems has been the core of Lakeside Labs — the small nonprofit research company that I have been co-leading as scientific director — since its foundation in 2008. Lakeside Labs is a hub for science and innovation in self-organizing networked systems. A space for inspiration, creativity, and multidisciplinarity. At the time of our foundation several people believed that research on self-organization is a pure academic “exercise” by professors without any practical application of benefit to industry. This attitude has changed in the course of 2015/16 when many companies have increasingly become interested in …
Modern airplanes are equipped with hundreds of embedded sensors and actuators necessary for structural health monitoring, aircraft control, and passenger and crew assistance. These devices are typically interconnected by wires. Using wireless connections instead of wires improves flexibility of installations and reduces the airplane’s weight. Researchers from Airbus Group Innovations have been working on this topic for several years. An ongoing joint project with the University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs develops and tests such in-cabin networks with focus on their robustness against undesired interference.
Synchronization algorithms based on the theory of pulse-coupled oscillators are evaluated on programmable radios. It is experimentally demonstrated that the stochastic nature of coupling is a key ingredient for convergence to synchrony. We propose a distributed algorithm for automatic phase rate equalization and show that synchronization precisions below one microsecond are possible.
By Christian Bettstetter and Jorge Friedrich Schmidt There are different strategies on how to handle and manage interference in wireless networks. The choice of strategy mainly depends on the signal-to-interference ratio (SIR) at the receiver. If interference is very weak, it should be ignored and treated as noise. If interference is stronger—about as strong as the desired signal—we want to avoid it and allow only one node to transmit at a given time or frequency in a certain spatial region (orthogonalization). Both strategies are commonly used in wireless technologies in practice. If interference is even stronger than the signal of interest, it is favorable to allow interference and decode it at the receiver rather than to avoid it. A major limitation of all three strategies is that their per-node throughput decreases with an increasing number of transmitting nodes.
The Lakeside Labs project cDrones started in 2008 as an effort of four Klagenfurt professors to work on system-level aspects of small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles for application in disaster management. Using off-the-shelf, low-altitude multicopters equipped with high-quality cameras and GPS, the project team developed a software that enables an autonomous system for aerial reconnaissance. The overall system has been tested in the field with fire fighters and other application partners. A start-up company to commercialize results was founded. Experimental research with flying outdoor drones has produced scientific results in three areas: flight route planning, wireless communications, and image processing. Measurement results on wireless air-to-ground links and their performance in terms of throughput and packet loss rate will be presented at IEEE INFOCOM 2013. Research activities will continue in 2013 with focus on coordination of multiple drones, wireless multimedia communications, and requirement analysis and real-world test with application partners. Funding in the order of 700 T€ is expected for a follow-up project.
The Lakeside Labs project SOSIE takes an interdisciplinary perspective on decision making in networks suffering from information errors. Human organizations and technical communication systems are compared to identify similarities and differences during decision making processes. Successful techniques may then be transferred from one discipline to the other. Friederike Wall, who initiated the project together with Christian Bettstetter, is excited about the topic: “The two disciplines have so much in common, I’m sure our partnership will be mutually beneficial.” Doris Behrens and Pasquale Grippa joined the team as senior researcher and PhD researcher, respectively. Funding is obtained via Lakeside Labs from ERFE, KWF, and the state of Austria.