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Anibal Ollero Baturone has received the IV "Javier Benjumea Puigcerver" Prize for Research

January 8, 2007

Seville, 8 January 2007. Today, Anibal Ollero Baturone, Professor of System Engineering and Automation of the Engineering School of the University of Seville, has received the IV “Javier Benjumea Puigcerver” Prize for Research for the development of robot prototypes and application systems in various fields, such as space, forest fires, aquaculture, agriculture and the inspection of buildings and installations.

Anibal Ollero Baturone has researched new methods, technologies and applications for robotics, control and perception, including autonomous vehicles, air robotics, cooperation between various robots and network systems for information retrieval and control. He has supervised sixteen doctoral theses, is the author or co-author of over 300 publications and has directed or participated in over seventy research and development projects.

The IV Prize for Research was held today, 8th January, in the assembly hall of the University of Seville with over a hundred researchers and academics attending, including the University Dean, Miguel Florencio; the Chairman of the Social Council of the University of Seville; and the Chairmen of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, Felipe and Javier Benjumea Llorente.

This award recognises the work of the university member researchers (doctors and graduates) who take part in projects designed to fulfil the research and development needs of companies and entities. The research carried out by Anibal Ollero has been transferred to companies and has given rise to products for the aeronautical sector, navigation systems, protection of the environment, vehicle testing, surveillance, fish farms, industry automation, etc.

Furthermore, Professor Anibal Ollero has gained renown due to his system for testing aircraft components and systems which has been introduced into the San Pablo plant in collaboration with EADS-CASA. This system has been selected for its application in the A400M. Furthermore, he has developed teleoperation systems and others to manage various experiments in the Columbus module of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the International Space Agency.

One line of investigation, which was carried out in collaboration with the University of Malaga, is the development of the first autonomous robot in the world to work in greenhouses and especially for crop spraying. The prestigious magazine dedicated to the practical application of IEEE robotics Robotics and Automation Magazine featured him as the cover story. He has also developed a robot for forests and waste removal.

Other research projects that he has supervised include the protection of the environment through the automatic detection of forest fires using infrared and visual images, with a false alarm rate falling below 5%. The system was successfully tested in the NAVANTIA facilities in the Alcornocales Park, the company to which the results were transferred. The first system capable of monitoring a forest fire has also been developed. This system can independently obtain measurements such as the speed at which the fire is spreading and the maximum height of the flames, using to such end visual and infrared cameras which can be installed in fixed platforms, in land vehicles or on aircraft. The system has been proved in experimental forest fires in the Gestosa mountain range near Coimbra (Portugal).

His research activities have also concerned a system used in aquaculture which uses a stereo vision system for estimating the size of fish in lakes and marine cages and is considered the first totally autonomous system in the world with regards this application.

The award consisted of 18,000 euros, a diploma and the publication of the project under the title “Autonomous systems for application in vehicles and non-conditioned environments”. Furthermore, the publication of the previous award-winning project was presented during the event: “Autologous transplant of carotid body cells in Parkinson’s disease”, by the Professor of Physiology, José López Barneo.

Past winners of the “Javier Benjumea Puigcerver” Award are Miguel Angel de la Rosa Acosta, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Seville (the first award); Antonio Barrero Ripoll, Professor of Energy Engineering and Fluid Mechanics of the University of Seville (the second award) and José López Barneo, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics of the University of Seville (the third award).

The Social Council is the University’s organism responsible for society relations and its functions include monitoring the educational offer and activities in Andalusia. In accordance with its rules and regulations, its functions can be divided into three blocks: the economic/financial, which includes the authorisation and disposal of university budgets, fees and public fees, etc; the academic, which among other factors covers the authorisation of new qualifications and student rules; and society relations, where it is responsible for promoting agreements and patronage and for society’s collaboration with regards financing the university.

The Social Council of the University of Seville decided to establish the “Javier Benjumea Puigcerver” Prize for Research in honour of the distinguished person of same name from Seville who was awarded with Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Seville.

Created by Abengoa in 1982, the mission of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation is to put into practice Abengoa’s social policy. It is a non-profit organisation whose objectives are of general interest and focused towards welfare, education, culture, science and technological research and development. The Foundation has become a valuable tool immersed in the culture of Abengoa. Not only is it capable of attending to the professional and personal development of its employees, but also of identifying new sensitivities in society as a whole. In short it manages intangible assets whose impact reverts and spreads to business values and objectives.

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