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RISOTTI - Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces for Smart Cities

Founding Source: FNR – Luxembourg National Research Fund – CORE Program
Team: Prof. Ottersten (PI), Dr Kisseleff (VPI), Dr Chatzinotas, Dr Martins, Dr Al-Hraishawi
Duration: 3 years


Project description:

The increasingly demanding objectives for beyond 5G wireless networks have spurred recent research activities on innovative hardware architectures for wireless communication systems. Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) emerge as one of these promising directions and it is sometimes marketed as an enabling technology for 6G. RIS are artificial planar structures with reconfigurable properties through integrated electronic circuits, which can be controlled to reflect an impinging electromagnetic wave in a manageable way. RIS are fabricated with a low profile, lightweight, and conformal geometry, which makes it easy to deploy them on objects (e.g., facades of buildings, walls and ceilings, advertising panels, etc.). These small semi-passive elements on a RIS reflect the incident signal with an adjustable phase-shift and without requiring a dedicated energy source for signal processing, which makes them extremely energy-efficient and promising. In conventional wireless communication systems, only the transmitter and receiver can be optimized, while the addition of RIS enables optimization also of the channels, which provides a transformative means of the naturally passive wireless environment into a programmable smart entity. Furthermore, RIS can be readily integrated into current wireless networks without modifying the physical-layer standardization, making it transparent to the users. 

RISOTTI stands for Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces fOr SmarT CiTIes. The main objective of this project is to investigate the possibility of employing RIS in mobile RIS-enhanced multihop relay networks for the envisioned application of Smart Cities. For the concept of Smart Cities, we consider various relevant scenarios including the deployment of RIS on smart buildings, unmanned aerial vehicles, public transportation, etc.


Figure 1. Smart City assisted by RIS attached to the walls of smart buildings, to UAVs or buses.

Specifically, the practicality of considered scenarios with respect to public transportation (e.g. buses, trams), will be ensured via cooperation with industrial partner Volvo Bus Corporation - E-Bus Competence Center.

Given the advantages of RIS and their high potential for improving the telecommunication environment, we expect substantial improvements in network throughput and large energy savings from this application of RIS compared to traditional relaying. Many challenges associated with mobile RIS-enhanced relays need to be resolved, starting from channel modelling and estimation via multi-user precoding and resource allocation to joint active and passive beamforming for multihop relaying.

Project partners:

  • Volvo Bus Corporation – E-Bus Competence Center

Research Team: