Huawei gives update on smart cities ‘nervous system’ initiative

Huawei says its ‘nervous system’ implementation for smart cities has helped more than 100 areas.

The company compares the concept of a smart city to a living organism that works continuously to enhance the services of the city. Using new ICT, such as cloud computing, big data, IoT, and AI, drive unified coordination, cross-sector collaboration, and intelligent analysis for effective management of services in a smart city, Huawei says.

Participating at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 (SCEWC) in Barcelona, Spain, under the theme "Leading New ICT, Creating a Smart City Nervous System”, Huawei demonstrated the new ICT solution, together with its global partners, to connect the digital and physical worlds. Regular readers of this publication will already be aware of the ‘nervous system’ concept, having first been reported in September.

Huawei also exhibited some other comprehensive smart city solutions such as smart rubbish bins, smart streetlight, smart watering, smart building, smart metering, and smart healthcare. Huawei’s IoT platform, LiteOS operating system, and advanced technologies helps the company formulate ubiquitous sensing systems.  The Smart Campus Solution was also launched to drive industrial evolution and development.

“Huawei is committed to creating a strong nervous system that powers smart cities,” said Yan Lida, president of Huawei enterprise business group. “With our innovations and investment in various technologies, we develop an open platform for smart cities, which is compatible with various devices and supports a wide range of applications. We aim to be the rich soil that supports the robust and sustainable development of smart cities.

“Huawei is one of the few ICT solution providers in the industry that can offer end to end cloud-pipe-device solutions, leading the way to connecting the physical and digital worlds,” added Yan. “We will continue to work together with our ecosystem of partners to create top-level designs addressing city administrators’ needs and achieving the ultimate goals of a smart city – to enable good governance, promote industry development and deliver benefits for the people.”

Elsewhere, Inseego has announced integration with Current, powered by GE to deploy 3,200 intelligent CityIQ sensor nodes in San Diego, CA. The deployments, considered to be world's largest smart city IoT sensor platform installation, will help optimise traffic and parking as well as strengthen public safety and environmental awareness. Latest from the homepage

Brussels researchers develop ‘mergeable nervous system’ robots

mergeable nervous system from brussels research team robot

Researchers at the Université Libre de Bruxelles have developed a robotic system capable of morphing to suit the task at hand. The ‘mergeable nervous system’ is made up of separate robots that can detect and replace faulty units.  

The notion of separate robots coming together to form a sum greater than their parts has always appealed to fans of science fiction. But advances in robotics and autonomous systems have edged us closer toward the reality of swarm technology.

The robotic nervous system developed in Brussels is made up of components capable of assuming and ceding control, forming different shapes to suit the circumstances and breaking off with broken companions.

It relies on a combination of self-determination and a central control. The overall robot can be seen as a series of units coming together to form a single ‘brain’ with a single purpose. The process of ceding control only occurs when one unit connects to another, so each individual bot can act independently until it becomes part of the whole.

Lead author of the study, Marco Dorigo, has labeled this unique control method a “mergeable nervous system”. As shown in the video below, robots illuminated in red are assuming control.

Read more: Robot tax could ease drawbacks of automation

The applications of swarm technology

For an idea of what can be achieved with smart robotic swarms, we need only look to the natural world for inspiration. Everyday insects, such as ants or bees, are able to achieve incredible feats by working as a single unit.

Speaking to Popular Science, Dorigo said that this kind of robotic teamwork could help robots think on their feet and problem-solve more easily. “Take moving on a very rocky terrain, for example. One alone would get stuck, but attached to each other, they become more stable and they can move on the rough terrain.”

The research paper suggests that the mergeable nervous system could transform the way we think about robotics and develop solutions for specific tasks. “Building on the Mergeable Nervous System method,” it says, “robots of the future will display a new type of adaptivity by autonomously choosing appropriate morphologies for the tasks and environments they encounter.”

Although this technology proves that robots can be adaptable, the research team recognizes that understanding exactly how to adapt to fit the situation is the real challenge. “To solve the same problem on the fly, we might be able to rely on ever increasing computing power and advances in evolutionary computation techniques.”

The study concludes that similar robotic nervous systems could eventually replace the need for task-specific bots. A crate of these adaptable units could turn up and shift into whichever shape best solves the problem at hand. “Our vision is that, in the future, robots will no longer be designed and built for a particular task. Instead, we will design composable robotic units that give robots the flexibility to autonomously adapt their capabilities, shape and size to changing task requirements.”

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Huawei looking to create a ‘nervous system’ of smart cities with new release

Huawei, along with Weifeng City, has developed a model based on Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and Huawei OceanConnect IoT platform, and is also planning to create a “nervous system” of smart cities.

The NB-IoT city-aware network uses a “one network, one platform, N applications” construction model utilising IoT, cloud computing, Big Data, and other next-generation ICT. The city-level IoT platform is developed for the city to enable unified access, management, and data collection from various IoT-enabled sensory equipment.

In addition, the Chinese telecom giant and the city government also established the Huawei-Weifang IoT Innovation R&D Centre and the Huawei-Weifang Smart City IoT Industry Alliance. These initiatives are designed to enhance and expand industrial applications of NB-IoT and drive continuous improvement of city management and public services. Huawei has already enabled smart lighting, which is based on standardised NB-IoT and the first of its kind in the country.

The IoT network includes eight value-added services along with a remote control system, Wi-Fi hotspots, video surveillance, environment monitoring, and vehicle quantity surveillance and statistics. The smart lighting system monitors the status of street lamps in real-time, adjusts brightness automatically, and detects faults, among other functions, saving 80% of electricity and 90% of maintenance costs. It also provides scientific and accurate data analysis for city management.

Furthermore, Huawei has been added by the Z-Wave Alliance to its Board of Directors. The company joins principal members ADT,, FIBARO, Ingersoll-Rand, Jasco Products, LEEDARSON, LG Uplus, Nortek Security & Control, SmartThings, and Sigma Designs. Latest from the homepage