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Opportunities in
Infrastructure and Transportation

Design, construction, maintenance and upgrading of complex engineering infrastructures and equipment like bridges, dikes and airplanes, requires fresh thinking to minimize use of materials, energy and labour as well as to ensure safety and reliability.  These objectives can only be achieved by in-depth understanding and monitoring the performance of the infrastructure, both during its construction and throughout its design life. Fiber optic sensors are powerful minimally-invasive technology for effective in-depth distributed  monitoring and evaluation of  the integrity and performance of all these structures as opposite to the complexity, costs and obtrusiveness when deploying a large number of independent sensors. Integration of all the optics functionalities in chip enables a significant step forward in the miniaturization and costs of those systems, as such as allowing applications not possible with standard Fiber Optics Sensors for either size, weight or cost reasons. Accordingly  this technology is gaining wide acceptance for monitoring infrastructure and is expected to play a major role in the realization of a large number of real-time structural integrity monitoring systems. 

Example of key opportunities we see are:

Structural health monitoring
Fiber Optics Sensor systems for real-time accurate distributed structural health monitoring in large/high-duty objects and (composite) structures;

Solid-state LIDAR
Optical front-end modules and key components for coherent solid- state LIDARs in decision support/ autonomous control systems.

Examples Infrastructure
and Transportation


Various sensing approaches to generate real-time data of the vehicle’s surroundings exist, including those based on cameras, RADAR and LIDAR. LIDAR, short for light detection and ranging or “light radar”, is used to measure distances with high resolution and precision. This is achieved by illuminating the object with a scanning laser beam, and consequently measuring the reflections. Complete three-dimensional mappings can be made. Various techniques are used, such as pulsed, flash and frequency-modulated LIDAR.
The opportunities for using LIDAR are plenty, most notably in automotive, where it is used in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and in autonomous driving, providing a better resolution than radar. It is furthermore used in wind farms, to monitor wind speeds, and in remote sensing, mapping the environment and atmosphere.

Photonic Integrated Circuits offer some very concrete opportunities for LIDAR. In solid-state LIDARs, PICs can be used as the laser source. When combined with the on-chip components typically used in communications technology, pulsed lasers and frequency-modulated lasers can be realized.


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