The application of coatings to specific substrates can have different purposes, including protection against aggressive and external factors, enhancement of performance-relevant properties or simply aesthetics. In this context, the main goal of SMARCOAT is to design, synthesize, develop and scale up a set of innovative materials for sensing substrate degradation. The importance of this project for society can be envisaged from different perspectives. Mobility is a key aspect when considering the demands for supply of goods and accessibility to different places for professional and touristic reasons. On the other hand, the rise of fossil fuel consumption with the consequent detrimental effects for the environment requires the development of new materials capable of imparting significant weight reduction, while keeping good performance throughout the whole service life of the vehicles. In SMARCOAT, the focus relies upon improving the detection of degradation of light weight metal alloys and fiber-reinforced plastics, materials which are commonly used in combination as hybrid structures in the aerospace and automotive industries. An early, cost-effective detection of degradation can allow for cheaper yet safer preventive maintenance operations.