SmartPMS: Smart Personal Mobility Systems for Human Disabilities in Future Smart Cities

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We welcome contributions, comments, and sub-projects proposals.
Proposals for new sub-projects should be sent by specifying a short workplan with a description of the new functionalities, potential impact, and the expected time schedule.

Objectives

The project aims at developing SmartPMS-Smart Personal Mobility System composed of two main components: smart wheelchair and intelligent distributed information system. By designing the wheelchair with several types of sensors, computing and communication capabilities and a human-computer interface, our system will provide a set of services that will dramatically improve user mobility freedom, independency and safety. The main services are: path planning, position/location, local environmental sensing, active safety, information sharing, and activity and health status monitoring through the use of Body Sensor Networks (BSN).
With respect to smart wheelchairs a few projects have been proposed so far: WHEELESLEY at MIT, VAHM in France, MAID in Germany, SAIMO in Spain, TAO in Canada. However, they all focus on developing a stand-alone wheelchair with some sort of smartness, with the specific goal of collision avoidance, recognizing user activity and/or vital sign monitoring. Conversely, SmartPMS will integrate wearable sensors, smart wheelchair, and Smart City ubiquitous technologies, so including the main features of related projects and adding novel services: advanced path planning and active safety.
SmartPMS will be jointly developed by 2 research groups. The Italian group is led by Prof. Fortino, A/Prof of computer engineering. The Chinese group is led by Prof. Li, Prof at the WUT. The 2 groups are already collaborating actively, co-authored scientific publications and founded an official Unical/WUT Joint lab on Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies. The collaboration is of strategic importance to the success of the project as the 2 groups have complementary scientific skills. The Unical group is leader in BSN system design and programming and has strong background on IoT, Internet and cloud computing technologies. The WUT group has strong experience on Robotics and WSNs, and is already working on a stand-alone wheelchair instrumented with sensors.


Expected results

The expected social and environmental impacts of the project include:
  • Increased take-up of transformative Italian and Chinese ICT in new mobility services, with particular focus to disabled and elderly population.
  • Energy efficiency and environmental gains in personal mobility demonstrated when using the proposed SmartPMS system.

The expected scientific/technological results of the project are the followings:
  • A prototype of the smart wheelchair along with the underlying distributed intelligent information system; this is the key result to show the feasibility and convenience of a wide adoption of such a system.
  • At least one joint patent about the SmartPMS system; this will pose the basis for creating a profitable co-founded company and for protecting the intellectual property.
  • At least five publications in high-impact international conferences and scientific journals related to the project domain; this way our research groups will gain more visibility in the scientific community and become the reference contacts in the smart personal mobility domain.

Furthermore, important side results the partners aim at achieving are:
  • The improvement of mutual scientific collaborations; by tightening collaborations, new research directions can be drawn more robustly and the joint operating domain can be extended.
  • The enhancement of the specialization of the involved young researchers in IoT technologies;
  • The further development of the recently established Joint lab on IoT technologies; an active lab can attract other researchers and potential commercial investors interested in the prototypes resulting from the research activities.
  • The organization and hosting of two international academic conferences (one per year) in the IoT research area. This is the best and more formal way to share specific knowledge, delineate the improvement of the state-of-the-art and simplify the construction of new collaborations with other research groups.