You are here

Ozguner among NSF 'Smart City' award winners

Umit OzgunerECE's Umit Ozguner is among the short list of recently announced National Science Foundation (NSF) award winners for his work in autonomous transportation.

Ozguner's project, "A Unified Solution of Mixed Traffic Sensing, Tracking and Acceptable Active Accident Avoidance for On-Demand Automated Shuttles in a Smart City," was picked for its focus on "new research laying the foundation" for smart cities of the future.

Ozguner is principal investigator (PI) on the project, along with Center for Automotive Research visiting professor Bilin Aksun-Guvenc and ECE professor Keith Redmill as co-PIs. The work is expected to receive $230,000 throughout summer 2017 and delves into how autonomous transportation may assist senior citizens in the future.

According to their research, in 25 years senior citizens will account for 20 percent of the entire American population. 

"As smart cities are also expected to become a reality within the same timeframe, starting to address the needs and concerns of such a large group becomes an essential part of the design of a future smart city," Ozguner, et. al. write. "Here we specifically address the mobility needs of the elderly and those with limited means of transportation. We consider multiple small vehicle options that might provide on-demand or scheduled means of door-to-door transportation."

The NSF-EAGER project focuses on examining basic research aspects of sensing and tracking potential sources of vehicle-pedestrian collisions in densely crowded situations and socially acceptable distances for collision avoidance. The project is associated with the Ohio State/Columbus Global City Teams Challenge activity SMOOTH (Smart Mobile Operation: OSU Transportation Hub).

NSF announced the 12 new projects – an overall commitment of $2.5 million – to help enable a vision for smart and connected cities and communities at a White House event this month.

The awards support NSF-funded researchers at universities across the United States participating in the 2015 Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) - an effort launched in 2014 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to showcase "smart technologies with the potential to transform cities and communities around the world."

NSF awards allow teams of researchers, often from multiple institutions, to develop novel approaches to effectively integrate networked computer systems and physical devices, with a focus on applications of public benefit.

“Today’s awards are built upon advances enabled by NSF’s longstanding investments and leadership in fundamental research in computing and information science and engineering,” said Jim Kurose, head of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at NSF. “Sophisticated networking capabilities and the tight integration of computation and physical systems has enabled today’s smart systems. These new projects, and all the participants in the Global Cities Team Challenge, will help to realize the smart and connected communities of tomorrow.”

NSF’s investments through the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program have been particularly important in laying the foundation for smart city technology. The CPS program was established in 2008 to develop the principles, methodologies, and tools needed to integrate sensing, computation, control, and networking into physical objects and infrastructure. The CPS program is joined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Transportation, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health. Over the years, it has funded a portfolio of more than $250 million in research projects that have advanced fundamental knowledge across multiple application domains – public safety, transportation and health – with the potential to improve the quality of life in cities and communities around the world.