Jorge Ortiz (Site PI) receives NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) grant

The Rutgers University Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) and the School of Engineering have been awarded a major National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) with Columbia University, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Central Florida, and Lehman College. The new Engineering Research Center for Smart Streetscapes (CS3) will be supported for five years with $26 million; renewable for an additional five years, for a total of up to $52 million. The ERC program is NSF’s flagship engineering program to catalyze convergent research to address large-scale societal challenges. As one of the most competitive research programs in the country, CS3 was selected from among hundreds of candidate centers. 

Currently, more than 80% of Americans and over half the world’s population live in urban areas. High-density cities are transforming how people live, work, travel, and manage urban infrastructure. With the nation’s urban areas facing challenges that threaten livability, safety, and inclusion, it is streetscapes – neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and public spaces – that are at the center of public and commercial activities, where data can be harnessed for the public good. Understanding complex streetscapes in real-time require progress in fundamental engineering knowledge and enable exciting opportunities for deploying public interest technology: A smart streetscape of the future can instantly sense human behavior and guide disabled pedestrians, collect refuse, control pests, amplify emergency services, and protect people against environmental and health threats. In addition, it can address unmet needs in road and public safety, traffic efficiency, assistive technologies, outdoor work, and hyper-local environmental sensing.

The Rutgers team, led by site PI Prof. Jorge Ortiz of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will work on two main efforts for the center. The first effort will be overseen by Prof. Dipankar Raychaudhuri and Prof. Ivan Seskar. They will work on enhancements to the WiEdge infrastructure based on COSMOS and smart city applications research designed and implemented by Prof. Jorge Ortiz. Prof. Jorge Ortiz will focus on application-driven research in human-streetscape interaction, expanding the interaction surface by combining multi-modal sensing, sensor fusion, and interactive machine learning that improves situational awareness. He will also examine systems aspects for enabling a shared API substrate (i.e., an operating system) to enable applications across different streetscapes. The Rutgers team also includes Prof. Peter Jin from Civil Engineering and Prof. Mubbasir Kapadia from the Computer Science department; they will work on crowd-based modeling and real-time traffic engineering for improved road safety, respectively.

Rutgers’ funding share is ~$2.2M.

Congratulations to Jorge and the team!