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LARA Report Summary

Project ID: 641460
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LARA (LBS Augmented Reality Assistive System for Utilities Infrastructure Management through Galileo and EGNOS)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

When it comes to underground utility management we usually think about holes in the middle of busy streets, warning signs, traffic and mud. Things can get particularly worse when utility management companies have to conduct multiple excavations to locate their asset and proceed to replacement or maintenance. Inadequate or outdated grid mapping and fragmentation of grid ownership alone in the UK is responsible for more than 1.5 million holes in the streets each year. The cost of such street works and the damage of third party assets because of inadequate positioning information in the UK have been estimated as £1B of direct costs, with a further £4B of indirect costs incurred by road users. Inevitably, faulty interventions will mean higher operating costs for companies, either originating from the penalties imposed by law or indirect costs of accidents and compensations to third parties that are usually difficult to quantify.

LARA project, “LBS Augmented Reality Assistive System for Utilities Infrastructure Management through Galileo and EGNOS”, that kicked – off February the 10th 2015, aims to develop a mobile device to assist the utility management professionals on the field. The nine partner international consortium, led by the Cypriot SME GeoImaging Ltd, will develop a hand-held, low cost, mobile device will integrate state-of-the-art technologies in the domain of positioning and sensors (GNSS), Augmented Reality (AR), 3D GIS geodatabases. The LARA system will guide utility field workers by helping them ‘see’ beneath the ground, rendering the complexity of the 3D models of the underground grid such as water, gas and electricity. The Objectives of LARA project are to:
Promote innovation based on the use of European GNSS, Galileo and EGNOS, sensor technologies and LBS monitor, document and manage utility infrastructures’ data with an intuitive 3D augmented visualisation and navigation/positioning technology

Collect spatial data on the fly via a 3D GIS and geo-databases contribute in minimizing the cost for utility management and maintenance industry (electricity, telecom, water supply, sewerage etc.) significantly
Take advantages of the Galileo and EGNOS functionality
Develop and commercialize a viable and real commercial product

The overall objectives of LARA for the first 12 project months could be summarized as follows:
- Perform a holistic and in depth system analysis and design considering the user needs, evaluate hardware, design interfaces and draw the overall architecture
- Develop all the software and hardware development to deliver the prototype 0,5
- Prepare the testing ground regarding the pilots in 2 different sites
- Produce communication material and effectively disseminate project information to relevant stakeholders
- Draw an exploitation methodology to conduct the business case in the second period of the project

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first 12 project months the LARA consortium achieved the following results:

- Analyzed system requirements and user expectations.
- Evaluated hardware capabilities.
- Created structural system overview with sub-modules.
- Defined interfaces between modules.
- Defined the overall system architecture.
- Created the required hardware components towards the prototype 0,5.
- Developed and implemented the necessary software components towards the prototype 0,5.
- Implemented and tested previously defined interfaces.
- Prepared the testing ground regarding the pilots in 2 different sites and delivered a holistic testing plan.
- Developed an active public website and social media accounts
- Drafted a dissemination plan and engaged in more than 30 dissemination activities targeting public and private stakeholders
- Released the LARA promotional video (v1.0)
- Drafted the LARA e-newsletter no.1 and no.2
- Delivered the Business and exploitation plan

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress beyond the state of the art

The core components of the LARA system are based on: GNSS technology (Galileo/EGNOS/GPS), 3D GIS technology and geospatial databases, Computer Graphics and AR. From the hardware development point of view, a high precision positioning system will be developed embedded in the mobile device. A mobile 3D GIS will support users interact with complex, multi-source data sets on mobile, tablet and handheld devices using advanced interactive 3D visualisations. Rendering techniques for 3D visualisations will be applied to optimise the benefit of AR for field workers.

As the project core technological components and system integration towards the first prototype are still under development the consortium regards

Expected impact

The LARA system will allow utility management companies to know exactly “where is what”, conducting far more accurate interventions regarding maintenance of their own underground infrastructure while keeping intact other neighboring underground grids. Precise intervention will reduce the overall maintenance cost, minimizing at the same time economic and social implications of lengthy surface works.
More specifically the expected benefit from such a technology to the user can be summarized below:
- Achieve resource efficiency and avoid unpredictable costs that most of the times are shifted to the taxpayer.
- Minimize the overall cost and time of field excavations
- Minimize road or surface blocking time.
- Create bigger profit margins and increased competitive status within the existing or emerging markets.
- Reduce accidents and improve working conditions for the personnel on the field
- Μinimize environmental cost and obstructions to animal habitats
- Reduce the noise levels especially within urban areas

At this reporting stage, none of the expected impacts, as described in the DoW, has been achieved. The impacts described are more focused for the second period, the LARA system and the commercialization process.

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