Project VISTA initiated

In the coming period, a German-Dutch consortium led by HAN Automotive Research will be working on the development of an innovative support system for docking truck / trailer combinations at distribution centers.

The process of docking appears to be a critical link in the logistics process. With support from Euregio Rijn-Waal, the consortium will work on the VISTA project towards a support system that assists truck drivers with a fast and a damage-free docking. VISTA stands for VIsion Supported Truck docking Assistant. VISTA focuses on a solution at Technology Readiness Level 7. Here the system will be demonstrated in a complex practical situation. VISTA is an Interreg V A project with a budget of € 2.1 million. The VISTA consortium consists of a broad group of 13 partners, including innovative tech companies, suppliers and end users in the logistics sector and several knowledge institutions. Docking can sometimes take longer than desired resulting in traffic jams. In addition, damage is a regularly occurring problem. Robotic trucks could change this, but for the time being the vehicle fleet consists of trucks that are driven by drivers. There is therefore a need for a system that provides the necessary assistance to make the docking process efficient and damage-free. The wish is that no modification is needed to existing trucks or trailers. This allows the system to be easily rolled out over the entire vehicle fleet.

In VISTA, the consortium will be developing a vision-based system that locates vehicle combinations in real time using high-mounted cameras. Using this location information, the system mathematically calculates a set of maneuvers with which the vehicle combination can dock accurately. The system considers the kinematic possibilities of the vehicle combination and the obstacles to be avoided. Based on the route to be followed, a special algorithm - the path follower - calculates the desired vehicle movement and steering angle. The information is passed on to the driver via a user interface. That driver continues to drive the vehicle himself, but while docking he/she follows the instructions of the support system. The user interface is a crucial part of the system. The consortium hopes that the user interface can ultimately take shape via an app on, for example, a smartphone. What this will look like exactly is part of the research in VISTA.

On 11 March 2019, the festive kick-off of the VISTA project took place at the A.S Watson location in Heteren, the distribution center of Kruidvat. During an on-site tour, the guests were immediately confronted with a part of the VISTA business case: an LHV (a truck with a double trailer) took seven minutes for the entire docking process. However skilled the driver is, such vehicles are very difficult to maneuver backwards. The VISTA solution must drastically reduce such times.

The consortium partners of VISTA are - Bricklog Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Coduct GmbH, HAN (Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen), Hochschule Rhein-Waal, intoEU, ICR3ATE Digital Makers Lab B.V., Recreate B.V., Track32, V-Tron GmbH, various owners of distribution centers and some carriers.

Contact Information:

Responsible Lector

Dr. Ir. Frans Tillema, Lector Intelligent Mobility, HAN Automotive Research

Frans.Tillema@han.nl

+31(0)6-55493276

Project manager

Jan Benders MSc, Program Manager Control Systems, HAN Automotive Research

Jan.Benders@han.nl

+31(0)6-12537646