North America is one of the most urbanised regions in the world (82 % living in urban areas in 2014).
With growing urbanisation, sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities, requiring technology solutions.
Smart cities are data-driven, relying on broadband and telecommunications, sensors, social media, data collection and integration, automation, analytics and visualization to provide real-time situational analysis.
Most infrastructure will be "smart" by 2030 and transportation systems will be intelligent, adaptive and connected.
Renewable energy, energy storage, power quality and load measurement will contribute to smart grid solutions that are integrated with transportation.
"Green", sustainable and high-performing construction and infrastructure materials are in demand.
High energy use: Transportation accounts for roughly 23% of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions, followed closely by the energy consumption of buildings, which accounts for 12% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions (Canada's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change report).
Traffic congestion in Canadian cities is increasing, contributing to loss of productivity, increased stress for citizens as well as air and noise pollution.
Canadian cities are susceptible to extreme weather and events related to climate change (e.g., floods, storms).
Changing demographics: aging population (need for accessible transportation options, housing, medical and recreational services) and diverse (immigrant) populations.
Financial and jurisdictional issues: the inability of municipalities (who have primary responsibility) to finance R&D or large-scale solutions without other government assistance.
Where the NRC can contribute
Physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings, water treatment, waterways) and information and communications technology infrastructure
Public transportation, traffic management, parking, logistics, connected mobility and autonomous vehicles, integration with physical infrastructure and energy, and urban planning for the efficient movement of people and goods in urban and inter-urban environments
Energy and environment
Renewable energy, energy storage, food and urban agriculture, energy-efficient and low-emission transportation, waste management
Community engagement and planning
Technologies to enable community services (housing, recreation, emergency management) and urban planning (may include social studies on the interaction of people with the urban environment)
NRC selected opportunities
Living lab − wateridge village
Test bed for smart city technology in order to quantify and demonstrate the benefits of smart cities.
Multiple partnering opportunities (e.g. City of Ottawa, Canada Lands Company, industry association, universities, social sciences, urban planning).
Solving the food-water-energy nexus challenge
Sustainable urban bio-cycling.
System approach to the development of the technology platforms required to solve the nexus.
The integrated city
Efficient transportation: integration of personal mobility and freight movement as key city and inter-city infrastructure.
Efficient and integrated transportation systems linked to city infrastructure.
Planning urban environments for mobility while repurposing redundant infrastructures (converting parking to the food-water-energy nexus) as population shifts away from personal transportation.
NRC R&D groupings
Long description of the NRC R&D groupings infographic
The NRC supports innovation across the product lifecycle.
NRC expertise in platform technologies supports the planning phase.
NRC expertise in production systems and energy processes and emissions supports effective manufacturing.
NRC expertise in transportation systems, smart systems and smart buildings support the product development phase.
The final phase is taking the product to market.
Key enabling platform technologies
Computer vision and image understanding
Adaptive robots; future robotic platforms for part manufacturing
Understanding human emotions from language
Next generation information extraction using deep learning
Artificial intelligence to optimize talent management for human resources
Big data analytics
Predictive equipment maintenance
Artificial intelligence for optimizing energy storage and distribution
Understanding and tracking of hazardous chemical elements
Process and design optimization
Printed electronics for Internet of Things
Inks and materials
Large area, flexible, stretchable, printed electronics components
Applications: sensors for Internet of Things, wearables, antenna, radio-frequency identification tags, smart surfaces, packaging, security, signage
Solid-state lighting (LED) metrology: enabler for high energy efficiency lighting solution to achieve significant energy savings while providing critical lighting solutions to green infrastructure
Codes and standards
Codes and standards advice and support: National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, setting out technical requirements for the energy efficient design and construction of new buildings; National Building Code's requirements also apply to retrofit of existing stock
Development of detection (e.g. nanoparticles in water and food supply) and characterisation tools, reference materials
Standards development assistance to facilitate environment, health and safety, and regulatory work as well as commercial development
Façade technologies to make buildings more thermally efficient while harvesting energy, managing solar load and performing requirements for natural light, durability and moisture management
Low energy solutions and technologies
Human factors research to define control strategies for improved energy efficiency and organizational productivity
3D image metrology to enhance processes and minimise waste and to evaluate building structures for repair to extend service life
ICT and grid integration
Intelligent environmental control
Interactive platforms, standardised communication and management solutions
Connecting and integrating building energy systems, vehicle charging stations and smart grid
Components targeting high data-density, short reach applications, to alleviate congestion in access networks and data centers
Grid impact analysis, big data analytics (smart meters, network analysis), systems modeling and integration
Energy processes and emissions
Custom H2-certified facility
Codes and standards expertise and support
Catalyst and membrane materials development, design, testing
Electrochemical energy conversion: H2, fuel cells, electrolyzers
Process development and optimisation: sensors and materials to improve mining process efficiency
Microbial electrochemical technology (MET): produce direct current from biodegradable materials for energy-neutral/energy-positive wastewater treatment
Measurement methods and standards for black carbon (BC) and other emissions for aviation, marine, on-road, upstream oil and gas sectors
Support development of new emission certification standards
Ground-based and airborne monitoring of environmental & air pollutants
Algae cultivation using industrial CO2 emissions as feedstock and processing of algal biomass into sustainable products including biofuels
Flexible manufacturing cells and adaptive manufacturing
Autonomous and semi-autonomous robots
Collaborative and human-assisted robots
Mobile and reconfigurable manufacturing systems
Robotics and mechatronic systems
Future robotic platforms for assembly, finishing and joining
Future robotic platforms for part manufacturing
Metrology and sensing
Sensing technologies and sensing systems
Electron beam powder bed
Laser powder bed
Formulation of high-performance polymers and composites for additive manufacturing
Efficient transportation systems
Electrification of transport
Fuel efficiency of vehicles
Energy systems development, evaluation and performance optimisation in Canadian context
Urban fleet optimization
Integration of multi-modal urban fleets for efficient movement of people and goods
Route planning and optimisation to minimize operating cost, emissions and improve user experience
Testing and validation of new smart technologies within fleets
Technologies connecting vehicles to infrastructure (V2I)
Energy distribution infrastructure for transportation
Integration of vehicles to grid (V2X)
Inter-modal efficient supply chains
Evaluate and develop technologies to reduce drag and reduce fuel consumption
Influence the development of greenhouse gas regulations for light-duty vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles
NRC collaboration platform locations
NEW (Automotive advanced manufacturing solutions centre)
National institute for nanotechnology (NINT)
NEW (Advanced manufacturing centre)
Process design, modelling, simulation
Manufacturing systems engineering
Flexible manufacturing pilot laboratory
Big data analytics
Materials characterisation and testing
Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre
NEW (Canadian campus for advanced materials manufacturing)
Advanced materials for digital manufacturing, printed electronics, smart objects, devices, sensors, etc.
Montreal – Royalmount, Québec
Biomanufacturing pilot plant
Advanced biologics analytics
Intelligent machining processes and tooling
Robotics and automation
Modelling and simulation
NEW (Aerospace advanced manufacturing solutions centre)