Indra’s Minsait unit to trial its Sofia2 platform and drones for European eCall system


Spanish company Indra’s Minsait digital transformation unit has contributed its Sofia2 Internet of Things (IoT) and big data platform as the basis for a new EU-funded project to test the use of drones as a source of information for the new European emergency call system (eCall).

The Spanish consulting and technology company is participating in the European Smart Cyber Physical Systems Engineering (CPSE) Labs program, with the purpose of creating a collaborative network of expert engineering centers to develop cyber-physical systems in areas such as smart cities, the automotive sector or urban sustainability.

As part of the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Program, and within the framework of the CPSE Labs project, Minsait’s Sofia2 platform will be evaluated for its readiness to be used in the pan-European eCall system. The Minsait-developed platform allows the integration of heterogeneous information from different devices and systems, and is capable of processing thousands of events per second, with big data storage capacities and built-in rules.

The ‘Drones, eCall and Cyber Physical Systems for Public Safety Answering Points 112’ (CPS-PSAP112) project will test Minsait’s Sofia2 platform for its use in the new European emergency call system, which will be mandatory as of April 2018. The eCall system project will standardize the use of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP 112) in Spain and will include the use of drones as a new source of information for contextualizing an emergency. Sofia2 will integrate the data from eCall, images from the drones, information on weather and from social networks, to create business rules that will speed up response.

The testing will be carried out in close collaboration with the CPSE Labs’ Spanish center located at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). As eCall data provides more information than just voice messages, a complex automatic response or routes will be demanded by PSAPs. The Sofia2 platform will provide an advanced mechanism based on data flows that manage events and routing perfectly. For example, in the case of a high-speed bus accident eCall could be routed to firemen, before any evaluation or voice call.

Using drones in the approach and initial assessment of the accident could also improve the responsiveness performance. It may also be necessary to activate other resources according to the characteristics of the incident, such as environmental specialists if there is spillage of hazardous substances. By using drones equipped with thermal-cameras in this type of accident, the emergency management center could know more accurately the resources to mobilize in the early stages of the incident. As PSAPs are usually connected to smart cities platforms, the project hopes to find synergies between them and Sofia2 to gain rapid response advantages.

Describing the Sofia2 IoT and big data platform, Alvaro García Dols, Minsait innovation coordinator, said, “It has been designed as a digital native based on open source technologies, is accessible through APIs, and may be integrated with third parties. Likewise, it offers free environments for experimentation for active collaboration between manufacturers, providers, clients, entrepreneurs or universities.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).