GMV supporting future talents

The OASIS team at IES José Luís Sampedro in Madrid, supported by technology multinational GMV, will participate in the FIRST® LEGO® LEAGUE (FLL) International Open which will be held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) at the beginning of August.

The FLL is an international educational program organized by the non-profit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Sciences and Technology) and the LEGO group, with the mission of promoting interest in learning among youth between 4 and 16 years old. FLL's main goal is for participants to understand basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) concepts and to apply their skills in the competition as they develop learning habits, confidence, and teamwork skills.

The challenge of the 2021/2022 edition, called “Cargo Connect,” was to identify a problem related to the transportation of goods and to develop a solution. 2,200 teams have participated, with a total of 17,500 students coming from 32 cities. The science and technology competition has embraced students of all ages at three different levels of participation: Discover (early childhood level, from 4 to 6 years old), Explore (junior level, from 6 to 9 years old), and Challenge (senior level, from 10 to 16 years old).

During the national phase, the OASIS team at IES José Luís Sampedro in Madrid won third place in the Challenge group, so they will be going to FLL International Open in Brazil. Comprised of 9 female students between 13 and 15 years old, OASIS has presented their project about a sustainable lighting system for road signs with the goal of reducing accidents and casualties due to the lack of lighting on roads. This initiative consists of implementing piezoelectric micro-generators under the asphalt, overcoming the limitations of solar panels, in order to power illuminated signs, reflectors, and tunnel interiors. 2.3 million illuminated signs have been installed this year, of which 75% have old and/or inefficient illumination sources, with an annual consumption of over 196 million euros, which in Spain could be invested in infrastructure such as the OASIS team’s proposal. The viability of the system proposed by the OASIS team will be tested by CEDEX, who is waiting for a response from the Ministry of Mobility, Transportation, and Urban Agendas about the possibility of doing a pilot installation. During the second national phase of the FLL, they won third place, and among the innovation projects presented at the global level, they were one of the 4 Spanish teams nominated to be representatives at the Global Innovation Award, which will be held between the 20th and 22nd of next June.

Steadfast in their commitment to talented youth, GMV supports initiatives every year to spark students’ interests in technological fields. The relationship between GMV and FIRST® LEGO® LEAGUE dates back to 2008. Since then, GMV has maintained close connections with the program, as well as served as a collaborating entity in the competition at the national level by sponsoring or supporting teams that have participated in different editions of the competition.

As part of supporting the team, and with the goal of fostering young people's interest in science and technology careers, the OASIS team is scheduled to visit GMV’s central headquarters in Tres Cantos (Madrid) on June 22nd for a coaching activity. Different company employees will tell the OASIS team about their professional experiences and will show them different projects and activities in which they participate. It will be a motivational and inspiring activity for the students, who will have the opportunity to get a practical look at how engineering knowledge is applied professionally.

Project details

In this day and age, roads are constructed with the goal of safe vehicle circulation, with energy efficiency or the use of “clean” energies as a second-tier goal. After researching the causes behind various traffic accidents on the roads, the OASIS team identified a very common problem which is sometimes overlooked: poor surface conditions and terrible or nonexistent road lighting, especially on back roads, which are where the majority of traffic accidents occur. Let's not forget that the most recent data from DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic) on the topic, from 2019, lays out that 40% of deaths on the road (700 victims) are due to nighttime accidents. The fatality rate of these collisions is 2.6, while the general daytime rate is 1.1, according to the DGT's report, “Main Figures on Road Accident Rates. Spain 2019.”

Once they identified the problem, the OASIS team got started looking for new solutions that would outperform existing proposals, keeping in mind different countries’ latitudes and the limitations of solar panels. The final goal is to study the viability and possible implementation of a solution to high energy consumption in tunnel illumination and guard rail lighting along the sides of roads, through the use of reflectors and illumination of road signs with piezoelectric micro-generators placed under the asphalt, so that passing cars will be able to generate sufficient electricity. The project proposed by the OASIS team also helps to improve the development and implementation of automated driving systems that are currently being developed, such as Intelligent Transportation Systems.

The piezoelectric sensors transform the pressure and vibration generated by vehicles into electric energy within a radius of 1 kWh per 12 meters of road. For example, on a road with a total of 1 km of the system installed below the asphalt, up to 200 kWh could be produced each day, given the transit of about 600 vehicles per hour at an average speed of 72 km per hour.

Furthermore, many pain points on roads (accident black spots) are found in areas far away from main roads, where there are no power lines and it's not possible to illuminate signs by connecting them to the electricity grid. Photovoltaic devices (solar panels) are currently installed on some, allowing them to work without being connected to the grid. However, in many situations it’s not possible to access this type of energy, such as in tunnels or shady areas, or at latitudes where there is substantial seasonality to solar radiation.

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