The project Pavnext developed by Francisco Duarte, a MIT Portugal Program Transportation Systems student at Universidade de Coimbra was recognized with a 10.000€ prize at the Big Smart Cities 2017 contest. The prize awarding ceremony took place on July 11 at the Centro Cultural de Cascais.
The student competed with the PAVNEXT project (Pavement Energy Efficient Extractor), which presents a speed reduction system that induces the deceleration of vehicles without causing damage, noise or any discomfort to the passengers. The equipment acts as in a similar fashion to a carpet that when placed on the floor actively reduces the speed of the vehicles by extracting kinetic energy, with a minimal impact on the automobile. Contrary to existing systems, this one absorbs the vehicles’ energy and makes it slow down safely, without any action of the driver and even without being perceptible since it causes no discomfort. By acting directly on the vehicles, this solution can be effective in different places such as crossings, intersections, roundabouts, residential areas, schools and hospital areas, among others where it is crucial to control the speed limits. Drivers who move within the legal velocity limits will not be penalized, and the energy will just be withdrawn according to the necessity of each place.
By winning this national entrepreneurship competition, Francisco Duarte received a 10,000 euros prize, a work space and a 6-month acceleration period, a trip to Ericsson's innovation centre in Europe and access to the experimental city of Cascais to test the pilot of the technological solution he developed in the scope of his nearly finished doctoral thesis.
This is the third prize won by Pavnext since December 2016 when he was honored with the first prize at the Road Safety Innovation Award by ACP. Since then he already won the Coimbra semifinal of the Big Smart Cities Competition and in June was selected to represent Portugal at the European Final of the ClimateLaunchpad competition in October
The laboratory tests already took place at the University of Coimbra and the project pilot will soon be implemented.