Connected Vehicle and Engineered Surfaces Challenge

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

This challenge seeks novel solutions that incorporate Frequency Selected Engineered Surfaces (FSES) technology into connected vehicle designs as a means to move towards wireless connectivity within vehicles, and as a tool to manage interference emanating from vehicles into other vehicles, and into the overall urban environment.

Sponsoring Department: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Funding Mechanism: Grant

Opening date: January 22, 2018
Closing date: February 9, 2018, 11:59 PST

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Challenge

Problem statement

Connected vehicles are on their way to Canadian cities, and they will transform how people move around, and the relationship between the car and the 'smart city.' Canadian industry will address the multitude of opportunities that this new transportation paradigm will bring.

Connected vehicles will follow the trend of today's cars in having a large number of computing devices on board to run the sensing, navigation, control and entertainment systems. Estimates are that vehicles will use up to 45 electronic subsystems that need connectivity within the vehicles, and manufacturers prefer wireless connectivity for these systems. Today Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are candidates for inside vehicle use, and other wireless options may appear once 5G arrives. In the near future, vehicle manufacturers talk about less and less metal in vehicle designs, to be replaced by high strength alternative materials.

With so much wireless planned for use in smart cities, the problem for connected vehicles is that if reliability and effectiveness of the in-car wireless networks is at risk, then reliability and safety of connected vehicles in smart cities is compromised. Interference between the on-board vehicle networks (for example between the high performance navigation components and lower performance entertainment subsystems), and between nearby vehicles may compromise effective operation of the automotive electronic systems.

The radio propagation of the wireless connectivity can be engineered to be reliable by incorporating Frequency Selective Engineered Surfaces (FSES) into vehicle design. FSES will modify and control radio propagation in targeted frequency bands while leaving other bands unchanged. Designers will use modelling and simulation, and deployment of FSES to optimize use of the wireless spectrum within the vehicle, and between nearby vehicles (on roads, at intersections) to allow performance and safety requirements for connected vehicles to be met.

Desired outcomes & considerations

The desired outcome of this proposal is the creation of a strong Canadian industry with expertise in the design and application of FSES into connected vehicles. This supports the smart city vision where efficient use of the Radio Frequency spectrum in urban areas can enable innovation.

The FSES technology would be incorporated into connected vehicle designs as a means to move towards wireless connectivity within vehicles, and as a tool to manage interference emanating from vehicles into other vehicles, and into the overall urban environment. As less metal is used in vehicle construction, the composite materials replacing metal would include FSES.

Benefits from the use of FSES are expected to be:

  • reduced interference within modern vehicles and between nearby vehicles, without impacting other frequency bands (such as those required for mobile phones),
  • less interference into the overall urban environment from connected vehicles,
  • Increased safety margin for operation of connected vehicles in urban environments by protection of critical electronic subsystems with FSES,
  • reduced power consumption due to greater spectrum use efficiency,
  • increased privacy and security.

Background & context

Frequency Selective Engineered Surfaces (FSES) have the ability to enhance or attenuate the transmission and reception of Radio Frequency (RF) signals.

FSES make use of high speed, low production cost printed electronics technology to apply functional inks and other materials with useful electronic properties in carefully designed patterns onto low-cost materials such as plastic films or paper, and embed these into other materials such as multiple layer composite walls and structures, signage or even windows.

The choice of materials upon which to print, the design of the patterns and the orientation of the FSES, can be used to selectively reflect, attenuate and more generally shape the areas in which specific RF frequencies cover. This has the effect of allowing integration of multiple devices using the RF spectrum to operate and co-exist in small proximity areas such as vehicles or cockpits, by minimizing the unwanted propagation of RF signals throughout the structure. The FSES can also be placed to mitigate interference between adjacent wireless emitters in dense environments.

The Communications Research Centre (CRC), a branch within the Spectrum and Telecommunications Sector of ISED, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have both worked collectively over the past five years under the auspices of the Printed Electronics Consortium (PEC) to research key elements of the technology required to construct FSES, namely the design of the deposited patterns and the application of inks used to create them. The PEC has successfully produced designs on various types of materials such as polyester plastic and curtains, which have demonstrated the ability to selectively attenuate Wi-Fi signals and at higher frequencies, selectively reflect those signals at specific angles or to act as a general diffuser.

Maximum value and travel

Maximum grant value

Multiple grants could result from this Challenge.

Funding of up to $150,000.00 CAD for up to 6 months could be available for any Phase 1 grant resulting from this Challenge.

Funding of up to $1,000,000.00 CAD for up to 2 years could be available for any Phase 2 grant resulting from this Challenge. Only eligible businesses that received Phase 1 funding could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any grant for the total maximum funding value.

Travel:  For Phase 1, it is anticipated that three meetings will require the successful applicant(s) to travel to the location identified below:

Kick-off meeting
Communications Research Centre
3701 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, ON

Progress Review Meeting
Teleconference/videoconference

Final Review Meeting
Communications Research Centre,
3701 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, ON

Eligibility

Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • for profit
  • incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
  • research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *

Application guide

All federal departments and agencies that issue ISC challenges, regardless of whether they use a grant or a contract as the financial instrument to support research and development (R&D) in Phases 1 and 2, will assess proposals and bids from small businesses based on standard questions. The online application and bid submission system will contain these standard questions and provide guidance on the length of responses.

Assessment process

Once a complete application or bid is submitted, it will be sent to the department and agency that issued the challenge as well as to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) for assessment. It is the prerogative of the challenge sponsoring department or agency to decide which businesses will receive funding for Phase 1. All businesses that submit an application or bid will receive feedback.

In advance of accepting applications and bids from eligible businesses, the following is meant to provide guidance to businesses on what could be asked as part of the application and bid submission process. The information below may be used to evaluate proposals and is subject to change.

Innovation

  • Please be prepared to identify the starting technology readiness level (TRL) of the solution and the anticipated TRL at the completion of Phase 1. Reminder, Phase 1 is meant for solutions in the TRL range from 1 to 4.
  • Be prepared to describe the novelty of your solution and how it advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including competing solutions. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed.
  • Be prepared to identify what are the key scientific and technical risks facing your solution and how those risks would be addressed in Phase 1.

Benefits to Canada

  • Please be prepared to provide a brief description of your proposed solution and how it addresses the problem identified by the department or agency that issued the challenge statement.
  • Be prepared to describe the benefits to Canada that could result from the successful development of your solution, with a focus on three types of benefits: Economic Benefits, Innovation Benefits, Public Benefits.

Economic Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's potential impact on the growth of your firm but other firms in Canada more broadly. This could include the development of new clusters and supply chains. Consideration should be given to the number of jobs created, number of high-paying jobs, project-related revenue growth, etc.

Innovation Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovation within your firm. For example, potential spillover benefits, creation of intellectual property, impact on productivity of the new technology, etc.

Public Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's expected contribution to the broader Canadian public, including but not limited to inclusive business and hiring practices (e.g., gender balance), investment in skills and training and the environment.

Management and technological capability

  • Please be prepared to identify the work plan for Phase 1 including key milestones and activities anticipated, the total time foreseen to complete Phase 1 (not more than 6 months), resources required to complete the project and the key success criteria.
  • Be prepared to identify the potential project risks (e.g., financial, project management, human resources, etc.) to the successful development of the solution and how those risks would be managed in Phase 1.
  • Be prepared to provide a brief description of the project implementation team including specific members, partners, their roles and responsibilities, and how their expertise is relevant to the project. The team members must include a Project lead.
  • Be prepared to describe what your business is doing to encourage greater inclusivity in its innovation activities. One of the objectives of the program is to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, Indigenous people, youth, persons with disabilities, visible minorities) in the innovation economy.

Financial capability

  • Please be prepared to provide a financial proposal for R&D in Phase 1. Be sure to check the details of each challenge posting which will indicate the maximum funding available for Phase 1 as well as any eligible or ineligible costs.
  • In addition, please be prepared to provide information on funding received from other orders of government (i.e., federal, provincial and municipal) for the same work being proposed in your application or submission.
  • Please be prepared to describe the financial controls and oversight that your business has in place to manage public funds if selected to proceed into Phase 1.

Commercialization

  • Please be prepared to describe how you envision the commercialization of your solution and how potential risks or barriers to further commercialization would be mitigated.

Evaluation Criteria

Innovation PASS/FAIL section
Question Mandatory/ Point Rated Criteria Assessment Pass/Fail or Points Range Minimum Pass Mark
1 (a) Mandatory The Applicant/Bidder demonstrates that the proposed solution is starting between Technology Readiness Level 1 and 4 (inclusive). Pass: The Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is starting between TRLs 1 and 4 (inclusive), and provides justification by explaining what kind of research and development (R&D) has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.

Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence that the TRL is between 1 to 4 (inclusive) including:
  1. There is insufficient/no evidence provided for TRL judgment.
  2. The solution involves the development of basic or fundamental research.
  3. The solution is at TRL 5 or higher.
  4. The solution is commercially available
  5. The explanation simply paraphrases the description of a given TRL level.
  • TRL 1: Basic principles observed and reported
  • TRL 2: Technology concept and/or application formulated
  • TRL 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or proof of concept
  • TRL 4: Components and/or validation in a laboratory environment
  • TRL 5: Component and/or validation in a simulated environment
  • TRL 6: System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a simulated environment
  • TRL 7: Prototype ready for demonstration in an appropriate operational environment
  • TRL 8: Actual technology completed and qualified through tests and demonstrations
  • TRL 9: Actual technology proven through successful deployment in an operational setting
Pass/Fail Pass
1 (b) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions, and provides a description of the scientific and technological basis of the solution.
  • 0 points The Applicant/Bidder has not provided any details that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions.
  • 4 points
    • The proposed solution offers one or two minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions, that have potential to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
    • The stated advancements are well-described in general, but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.
  • 6 points
    • The proposed solution offers three or more minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions, that together are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
    • The proposed solution offers one significant improvement to existing technologies that is likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches
  • 8 points
    • The proposed solution offers two or more significant improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions that are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches and could define new market spaces; OR
    • The proposed solution can be considered a new benchmark of state of the art that is clearly ahead of competitors and that is likely to define new market spaces
0-8 4
1 (c) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution can solve the problem identified in the challenge.
  • 0 points There is no clear link between the solution and the challenge.
  • 4 points The proposed solution has components that partially relate to the challenge, but it is not clear or substantiated how the solution solves the challenge problem.
  • 6 points The proposed solution includes a sufficient description of how it solves the challenge problem with minor substantiation of the claimed solution.
  • 8 points The proposed solution substantially addresses how it solves the challenge problem with substantial evidence to support the solution claims.
0-8 4
1 (d) Point Rated The Applicant/Bidder identifies scientific and technical risks facing their solution and explains how those risks would be addressed in Phase 1.
  • 0 points The Applicant/Bidder has not provided any details on potential scientific or technical risks facing their solution.
  • 4 points The Applicant/Bidder has provided vague scientific and technical risks and does not provide how those risks will be mitigated.
  • 6 points The Applicant/Bidder has identified scientific and technical risks to their solution but only provides vague mitigation strategies.
  • 8 points The Applicant/Bidder has clearly identified specific scientific and technological risks facing their solution and clearly outlines how those risks will be mitigated in Phase 1.
0-8 N/A
Benefits to Canada
Question Mandatory/ Point Rated Criteria Assessment Pass/Fail or Points Range Minimum Pass Mark
2 Points Rated The proposed solution describes the benefits that could result from the successful development of the solution using the following 3 categories (Economic Benefits, Innovation Benefits, Public Benefits The Applicant/Bidder identifies the benefits to Canada citing 3 categories of below (Innovation, Economic and Public).
  1. Innovation Benefits: The proposed solution's expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovations. Assessment factors could include: potential spillover benefits, creation of intellectual property, impact on productivity of the new technology, etc.
    0 points: Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit.
    1.5 points: Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification.
    3 points: Benefit is significant and well justified.
  2. Economic Benefits: The proposed solution's forecasted impact on the growth of Canadian firms, clusters and supply chains, as well as its expected benefits for Canada's workforce. Assessment factors could include: number of jobs created, number of high-paying jobs, project-related revenue growth, etc.
    0 points: Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit.
    1.5 points: Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification.
    3 points: Benefit is significant and well justified.
  3. Public Benefits: The solutions expected contribution to the broader public, including inclusive business and hiring practices (e.g., gender balance), investment in skills and training and environmental best practices. Assessment would consider the degree to which the Applicant/Bidder demonstrates that the solution is expected to generate social, environmental, health, security or other benefits to Canada. Assessment factors could include: solution-related environmental benefits, investment in local communities and solution-related impact on Indigenous communities.
    0 points: Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit.
    1.5 points: Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification.
    3 points: Benefit is significant and well justified.
9 N/A
Management and Technological Capability
Question Mandatory/ Point Rated Criteria Assessment Pass/Fail or Points Range Minimum Pass Mark
3 (a) Point Rated The Applicant/Bidder provides a project plan for Phase 1 that includes key milestones and activities, estimated time to complete the milestones and associated success criteria.
  • 0 points The proposed project plan is partially complete with significant gaps in time between milestones. Total time for completion of Phase 1 not provided.
  • 4 points The proposed project plan is conceivably achievable and time available, but it is not clear or substantiated that this is the case. Total time for completion of Phase 1 provided.
  • 6 points The proposed project plan includes milestones that provide some substantiation that the solution is solvable with the time available. Total time for completion of Phase 1 provided.
  • 8 points The proposed project plan substantially addresses time available and provides evidence of the ability of the Applicant/Bidder to reasonably develop the proposed solution within the scope of Phase 1. Total time for completion of Phase 1 provided.
0-8 N/A
3 (b) Point Rated The Applicant/Bidder describes the potential project management risks to the successful development of the solution and how will they be managed in Phase 1.
  • 0 points The Applicant/Bidder has not identified any project management risks
  • 4 points The Applicant/Bidder has identified vague project management risks and does not provide a risk mitigation strategy.
  • 6 points The Applicant/Bidder has identified project management risks and only partially addresses them with a mitigation strategy.
  • 8 points The Applicant/Bidder clearly outlines project management risks and provides a mitigation strategy to address them.
0-8 N/A
3 (c) Point Rated The Applicant/Bidder identifies roles, responsibilities and expertise in the project implementation team that will develop the solution in Phase 1.
  • 0 points There is no information that describes the roles, responsibilities and expertise of the applicant/bidder or any associated external partners.
  • 4 points There is no project lead identified and/or there is minimal or incomplete information concerning the roles, responsibilities, capabilities and expertise of the applicant/bidder and any external partners.
  • 6 points A project lead is identified and there is sufficient information regarding the roles and responsibilities of the applicant/bidder and any associated external partners. However, the expertise of team members, including the project leader, is not clearly demonstrated.
  • 8 points The applicant/bidder has provided full and complete information on roles, responsibilities and expertise of all project implementation team members including any associated external partners. The project implementation team, including the project lead, have an exceptional combination of skills, capabilities and experience to deliver the project in Phase 1.
0-8 N/A
3 (d) Point Rated The Applicant/Bidder identifies how it is including members of under-represented groups (e.g., women, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in its efforts to innovate.
  • 0 points No description or examples of actions the Applicant/Bidder has taken to encourage inclusivity in its innovation activities.
  • 2 points. The Applicant/Bidder only vaguely mentions that under-represented groups are involved its innovation activities with no examples or substantiation.
  • 3 points The Applicant/Bidder identifies clearly how under-represented groups are involved in its innovation activities and provides examples and/or justification.
0-3 N/A
Financial Capability
Question Mandatory/ Point Rated Criteria Assessment Pass/Fail or Points Range Minimum Pass Mark
4 (a) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has identified a realistic financial proposal to advance the proposed solution in Phase 1.
  • 0 points The financial table is not provided OR significantly lacks credibility in the costs identified to complete Phase 1.
  • 2 points The financial table is completed however some costs are either over or under-estimated for the work foreseen in Phase 1.
  • 4 points The financial table contains strong, credible elements of the costs associated with Phase 1.
0-4 N/A
4 (b) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has indicated financial controls and oversight to manage public funds in Phase 1.
  • 0 points No financial controls or oversight mechanisms are identified.
  • 2 points The Applicant/Bidder provides very general or vague descriptions of financial controls and oversight to manage public funds.
  • 4 points The Applicant/Bidder has clearly identified human resources as well as processes to manage public funds in Phase 1.
0-4 N/A
Commercialization
Question Mandatory/ Point Rated Criteria Assessment Pass/Fail or Points Range Minimum Pass Mark
5 (a) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has thought beyond the work in Phase 1 and advancing the solution in Phase 2.
  • 0 points  The Applicant/Bidder has not provided any description of activities in Phase 2.
  • 4 points The Applicant/Bidder has provided some evidence of thinking about moving the solution from Phase 1 to Phase 2. However, there are significant gaps.
  • 6 points  The Applicant/Bidder has provided a more complete picture of how the solution could be moved from Phase 1 to 2, however, there are unrealistic expectations.
  • 8 points  The Applicant/Bidder has provided a complete picture of efforts to take the solution from Phase 1 to Phase 2.
0 - 8 N/A
5 (b) Point Rated The degree to which the Applicant/Bidder has identified target market, risks and barriers to commercialization following Phase 2.
  • 0 Points  The Applicant/Bidder has not provided a vision or plan of taking the solution beyond Phase 2.
  • 2 Points The Applicant/Bidder has provided a vision or plan of taking the solution beyond Phase 2. However, the Applicant/Bidder has not identified, or made very little effort to identify, a target market barriers or risks to commercialization after Phase 2.
  • 4 Points The Applicant/Bidder has provided a clear vision or plan of taking the solution beyond Phase 2. Target market, Barriers or risks to commercialization following Phase 2 are identified as are potential risk mitigation strategies.
0 - 4 N/A
Minimum pass mark
40
Total available points
80

Questions and answers

Question

In the problem statement it is stated: "Estimates are that vehicles will use up to 45 electronic subsystems that need connectivity within the vehicles, and manufacturers prefer wireless connectivity for these systems." This statement does not make much sense because of various reasons stated below:

  1. The time delays associated with wireless as opposed to wired: Some of the systems in vehicle (like the Engine Control Unit) require very precise timing that with today's technology is only achievable with wired systems currently in use (Controller Area Network bus or CAN bus). Therefore if wireless is used there will be interference in the transmission and the data will be corrupted which will require the transmitting device to retransmit the same message. This will have negative on the precise timing needed for critical systems in a vehicle.
  2. Guaranteed Message Delivery: The communication system between a vehicle subsystems require assurance of message delivery. This is trivial to achieve with wired connection, but not so much with wireless systems.
  3. Communication Speed: Using a wired connection between the subsystems, its is again trivial to achieve high speed communication, however if wireless is used, the speeds are much lower. An analogy to this is comparing wired internet connection as opposed to WiFi connection.
  4. Electromotive Force (EMF) Considerations: In modern vehicles – Internal combustion engine (ICE) or Electric – there are many moving metal parts that cause EMF interference noise in wireless signals. The noise is mainly caused by the engine and it is usually contained within the metallic vehicle body. However, in modern vehicles that use composite materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass, this noise can cause problems with other wireless systems. With wired connection, the EMF noise is not much of a concern as opposed to wireless communication.
  5. Small distance between all subsystems: Within a vehicle, the relative distances between the subsystems will not change. Therefore there is very little to be gained by replacing the existing wired connections with a wireless system.

Considering the reasons above, please provide an explanation of the nature of this challenge.

Answer

Although it is true that many critical-system sensors may remain wired, it is expected that with the advent of the internet of things (IoT), new generation vehicles will take advantage of numerous embedded wireless sensors for non-critical systems.

Our challenge assumes that future vehicles will be equipped with a number of wireless sensors, and that there may potentially be interference between these sensors. The challenge is focused on determining how frequency selective engineered surfaces (FSES) could be designed and deployed within the vehicles to mitigate or eliminate interference between wireless sensors.

All incoming questions regarding a specific challenge will be posted here with the corresponding response.

If you have a question about a challenge, please send it to ISED-ISDE@canada.ca.

You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovation Solutions Program.

A glossary is also available.

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