Interreg Automated Transport (I-AT)

I-AT focuses on the development of technological innovations for the mobility and logistics sector, to equip it better for the market of the future autonomous/independent driving. The focus is exemplary in the main logistics segments: freight and passenger transport. The project also focuses on self-propelled trucks (platooning) for the border region between Gelderland and NRW. This targets the business case of flowers & plants transportation.

Background

The central geographical position of the Dutch-German border in Europe with major east-west connections requires a joint approach of both countries when it comes to traffic engineering and relevant issues of the future. Future intelligent mobility for people and goods cannot and should not stop at the border by a lack of coordination and inadequate developments. North Rhine-Westphalia with its strong automotive industry in conjunction with the bold development in the field of (partial) autonomous driving in the Netherlands can be a powerful combination that can reinforce the exemplary role of the region as a logistics hotspot in the EU. In the next 10-20 years, enormous challenges are expected especially with respect to the increase in cross-border road freight and passenger transport. New innovations such as self-driving cars will find short to medium term effect on the society and poses new challenges for businesses.

During this social and technological process, the project aims to find an answer, not as a problem but as a chance to visualize the upcoming challenges and changes; the cost should be reduced, the security should be increased, new opportunities for public transport and new mobility services should be utilized. This project will not only see the border regions in the view of increasing traffic area but also as a venue for technological developments in the automotive and transport sector with its many small and medium enterprises. Since this region has the necessary resources, logistics is an important economic sector in the border region.

Final Outcomes

The project has several work packages, one of the work packages focuses on achieving open innovation and test platform for the development of an automated moving shuttle system on public roads. This includes the development of vehicle intelligence in terms of software, navigation systems, etc. It also includes sensor fusion techniques for environment detection and the development of a new vehicle concept.

Another work package concentrates on self-propelled trucks in the border region between Gelderland and NRW on the basis of the business case of transportation of flowers/plants. The intention is to achieve truck platooning with a small convoy of trucks to transport cargo across the border. Economic benefits are more efficient logistics, lower fuel consumption, lower emissions. The practical benefit is greater if the time of the drivers during the automatic driving can be considered as rest time.
Similar use-cases include the Food-valley route that runs from the Ede train station to the campus in Wageningen. The WE-POD automatically and independently travels through the traffic on public roads and transport, for example, visitors from the station to the campus. Besides passenger transport, the project investigates another possibility i.e. to carry goods like food/meals (fresh burden mile) and or parcels/mail.

The project also investigates the deployment of autonomous vehicles for airport shuttles. The development and implementation of a testing program for an autonomous shuttle bus service in the corridor RWTH Aachen - University Hospital - Vaals for students, medical staff, patients and relatives from the Klinikum is also one of the interests of this project.

Technological developments in the field of robot navigation and sensor technology are tested and brought to a full initial implementation through a collaboration of research institutions, large enterprises and small flexible and highly specialized SMEs.