Energy, transport, sustainable development
Interview with Anne-Céline Lamballe, Sector Associate
An increasing number of the results of the research and technologies developed at Inria now have the potential to be transferred to the sectors of sustainable development, energy, the environment and transport. Mainly linked to the concept of sustainable urban living, many of these projects concern transport. The fields of the environment, energy and resource management - areas into which Inria has moved more recently - are being urged to develop and find their way in collaboration with innovative SMEs.
Interview with Anne-Céline Lamballe, Technology Transfer Associate for Energy, Transport and Sustainable Development.
What do the different fields of activity in your sector have in common?
Anne-Céline Lamballe: The focal point is the concept of "sustainable urban living". The development of inter-connected smart grids or an integrated and dynamic computational representation of the city (for design and use) are examples of the challenges facing information and communication technologies.
What are the key technologies?
Anne-Céline Lamballe: They are often "cross-disciplinary technologies", developed by teams with classic applications in other fields. Examples are computational simulation for forecasting, databases (to manage a considerable number of heterogeneous data, often supplied by sensor networks), virtual reality (to represent a city), control and command algorithms for the design and management of smart grids, augmented reality, technologies enabling the development of mobile services in an urban setting, etc. The city is becoming a testing ground for innovations in our fields - a sort of "city lab" - with a key role in assessing demand and in getting feedback from digital "users".
Can you give us some examples of applications?
Anne-Céline Lamballe: The number of fields of application is increasing all the time: modes of transport or smart electrical grids, for example. In general, the central theme is that of the "smart city", a city capable of taking advantage of digital technologies for use in its own day-to-day management. By way of example, I could mention the technology developed by the Inria-initiated SME Probayes for energy management within a building. Or the joint project developed by the SME Induct and the IMARA team, which is experimenting with automatic shuttle buses in La Rochelle city-centre.
In June 2010, you organised an Inria-Industry forum on new technologies for sustainable cities. What demonstrations illustrate effective collaboration between researchers and SMEs?
Anne-Céline Lamballe: This Inria-Industry forum, which was held in Saclay, was exemplary, as it was organised jointly with three competitiveness clusters (two from the world of ICST: Systematic and Cap Digital, and one from the world of sustainable development: Advancity). A technology demonstration platform provided an opportunity to bring researchers, SMEs and key influencers together. Of the fifteen demonstrations on show, I will mention the roll-out of real-time traffic sensors on Grenoble's southern ring road by the start-up Karrus, associated with the NECS team; a routing and car-sharing system based on public data and data from users during their journeys, developed by the SME Senda with the IMARA team; simulation of atmospheric pollution, which is at the heart of the work of the I-Lab (a joint Inria/SME laboratory dedicated to technology transfer) between the SME Numtech (a member of the Seth group) and the CLIME team.
Are you an entrepreneur? An industry stakeholder? Do you want to collaborate with one of our research teams? Contact our Technology Transfer Associate for the "Energy, Transport and Sustainable Development" sector.
Tel.: +33 (0)1 39 63 52 93