The SII researches on a number of areas that focus on working with industry on the development of new technologies for tomorrow’s physical infrastructure
Facilities operation management
The complexity of modern infrastructure, and the fact that the resouces used to maintain this infrastructure are limited, mean that engineers must address operation and management and must extend their reach to the entire lifecycle of built infrastructure. SII researchers are investigating the use of advanced technology to address these needs.
Building energy management
Researchers are working to develop novel technological solutions to problems involving the energy inefficiency of residential and commercial buildings. This research addresses the current lack of detail in understanding of the electricity consumption of facilities, the fragmentation of existing building control systems, and the challenges associated with integrating buildings as active participants in the electric grid.
Structural health monitoring
Structural health monitoring allows for the automated monitoring of structural conditions in an efficient and reliable way, which helps to prevent catastrophic failures and reduce maintenance costs. SII is focused on developing and implementing efficient and robust damage diagnosis algorithms that can perform well under various environmental and operational conditions.
Infrastructure inspection using unmanned aerial vehicles
Our nation’s aging infrastructure is in need of rehabilitation or replacement to address structurally deficient, or functionally obsolete, structures. Current inspection methods involve expensive, specialized equipment, and are labor-intensive, as well as potentially dangerous. Researchers are developing new ways to inspect infrastructure through the use of small, low-flying robots, coupled with three-dimensional imaging and state of the art planning, modeling, and analysis. These methods provide safe, efficient, and high-precision assessment of critical infrastructure. The concept has been tested on bridges because they are among the most prevalent type of infrastructure requiring regular inspection, but the ideas can be applied to many types of infrastructure, including electrical transmission towers, dams, and buildings.
Cyberphysical systems, characterized by tight interactions between communications, computation, and control, require the development of models and algorithms at the intersection of these three domains to guarantee safe and secure operation of such systems, a prototypical example of which are modern energy systems. As more sensing and communication are added to the energy system, the system may become more vulnerable to faults and malicious attacks on both the information and the physical parts. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that such interruptions can be detected, and that counteractions be taken to guarantee the security of the system.
Accurate indoor localization has the potential to transform the way people navigate indoors in a similar way that GPS transformed the way people navigate outdoors. Over the past 15 years, several human-centric approaches to indoor localization have been proposed by both academia and industry, but we have yet to see large scale deployments. Research in this area aims to bring together real-time or near real-time indoor location technologies, and enhance their performance.