Coordinación Dinámica de Flotas Abiertas en Entornos Urbanos (SURF)

Proyect type: 
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)
Investigador Principal: 
Holger Billhardt y Alberto Fernández
Período de Desarrollo: 


The increase of human mobility and transportation in urban environments presents one of the challenges facing our today’s society. It is one of the causes of congestion problems, inefficiencies in logistics and energy use, and air pollution in modern cities.  To approach this challenge, innovative solutions for communication networks, information processing, and transport are required in order to assure a more efficient use of resources (vehicles, energy resources, roads, etc.) while also ensuring time flexible mobility solutions for citizens and businesses. The idea of smart cities requires new challenges and claims for new solutions related to traffic and transport. As a direct result, systems that promote the shared use of vehicles have begun to emerge. Examples are public bicycle services, bike or car sharing systems, applications like UBER or “flexible” fleets that are created on demand in order to provide a certain service in environments with considerable demand fluctuations.

We call this type of solutions “open fleets”. Similar to the traditional fleet concept, an open fleet requires a global regulatory entity that manages and coordinates the use of a limited set of resources in order to provide a specific transportation service.  However, open fleets extend the traditional fleet concept towards a new dimension of openness: vehicles may interact with their environment in a Smart city, or join and leave the fleet at any time. Most important, however, the capacity of the global regulatory entity to control the fleet in its entirety may vary considerably. There may be fleets that are totally controllable, and others that allow for very limited control only, as is the case, for instance, in a public bicycle service.

The management of open fleets requires the deployment of networks of sensors, actuators as open platforms that allow for the dynamic modification of the fleets’ structures. Using information fusion techniques, the information generated through such networks can be combined and merged with information obtained from the social environment and other open data in order to provide the basis for a global analysis of the dynamic situation of a fleet. Using this information, the regulatory entity is able to provide and propose the best options for their transportation needs. Additionally, the existence of a global regulatory entity allows for the creation of mechanisms to influence the behaviour of users towards a globally desirable state, with regard to global objectives such as, for instance, low energy usage, improved traffic flows, an egalitarian and fair use of resources for all users, etc. Techniques such as persuasion and incentives can be applied in this case.

This project proposes the development of an integrated solution for the management, coordination and regulation of fleets in general, and of open fleets in particular (with different degrees of control capacity of the regulatory entity). The proposed solution will be based on a set of informatics tools and components (sensor networks, models, mechanisms, techniques and algorithms). Its objective is an efficient management of fleets, ensuring three fundamental issues: i) energy efficiency, ii) egalitarian and fair usage of resources, and iii) providing high mobility solutions, adapted to a demand that might be dynamic and flexible. In order to demonstrate the viability of the proposed solution, we plan to apply the system to a use case: a public bicycle service.