Autonomous tram and e-car are examples of possible collaboration between scientists and entrepreneurs.
In early 2018, the first tram equipped with sensors and artificial intelligence could be seen on the streets of Zagreb. Its job will be to assist the driver in preventing a collision, reports Poslovni.hr on September 25, 2017.
The SafeTRAM project is the result of collaboration between the Končar Institute of Electrical Engineering and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER), and is just the first in a series of projects that the Faculty is working on together with various companies, on its way to establishing a European R&D center for robotics and the starting point for a future development of Croatian robotics industry.
The FER is also negotiating with Dok-Ing, whose XD electric car it bought four years ago, as it wants to develop systems for autonomous vehicles. They are expected to launch their new project in about a month. Gideon Brothers, a robotics startup founded by Matija Kopić, is also in discussions about further co-operation with the Faculty.
Ivan Petrović, head of the FER’s Automation and Computer Engineering Institute and the project manager for the Center for Excellence for Autonomous and Cooperative Robotics Systems (ACROSS), says that most of these projects are led by companies, while the Faculty offers them support as a research partner. “Regardless of the co-operation model, we want to encourage more joint projects with the business community, since the goal of the ACROSS is to create a research and expert base for the development of the Croatian robotics industry,” says Petrović.
The project of the ACROSS Robotic Center is the only one from Croatia which has entered the shortlist for the next ten centres of scientific excellence at the EU level. A total of 208 projects were submitted initially, and the list has now been shortened to just 30 projects, which will present their business plans next year. Based on this, the European Union will assess which ten centres will receive its support in the amount of 15 million euros over the next seven years. “We expect that the new centre would employ between 50 and 60 robotics experts, of which twenty percent would be from abroad,” said Petrović. The FER already has about the same number of robotics experts who are quite active in cooperation with the business community.
As for the SafeTRAM project, it has received 18.9 million kunas from the EU funds. Zlatka Tečec Ribarić, the SafeTRAM project manager at the Končar Institute of Electrical Engineering, says that this project will continue until August 2020. “We are about to complete the phase of fundamental research in which we have explored new ways of monitoring the environment through a multi-sensory system. Starting in October, we will implement the phase of industrial research when the theory is turned to practice,” says Tečec Ribarić. She adds that the European Union has set an ambitious goal to halve the number of traffic victims by 2020, which is planned to be achieved through the development and use of fully autonomous vehicles.
Vjekoslav Majetić, the managing director of Dok-ing, says they cooperate very successfully with the FER. “The FER bought the first Croatian electric car XD, and we have delivered them a platform which they use in their research in the field of autonomous driving,” says Majetić.
Matija Kopić, the founder of the robotics startup company Gideon Brothers, which has grown to 35 employees, says that the FER has top-level scientists. “We work together in the field of advanced robotics, for example, on solutions for humanoid robots, and we are developing some other products which are the reason why we would like to continue to cooperate with the FER,” Kopić concluded.
Translated from Poslovni.hr.