The Nederlands leading in automated freight transport
Towards autonomous freight transport in 2030
IMIAT aims to make the Netherlands a frontrunner in the implementation of Connected & Automated Transport (CAT) in road traffic. The IMIAT initiators are aiming to achieve this with various projects, taking 2030 as their target date. IMIAT stands for Innovation Mobility Implementation Automated Transport. IMIAT is focusing on testing and implementing the necessary technologies in test environments and in Living Labs. The driving force behind the project is the Automotive Center of Expertise ACE Mobility, which acts as a linking pin between automotive education and the automotive industry, addressing innovations and developments in which education and industry work together.
Why autonomous freight transport?
The Netherlands has a great deal of technological expertise in ICT, data and other technologies that are key to the automotive industry. In Connected and Automated transport these technologies have already been applied small-scale in passenger transport, but in automated transport there is still a long road ahead. IMIAT aims to make self-driving freight transport possible by testing and implementing the required technologies. For this, the participation of companies, knowledge institutions and government is vital. CAT offers many economic opportunities: it will reduce transport costs (especially labour costs and time lost in traffic jams), and so improve the competitive position and increase the market share of Dutch logistics service providers. Autonomous freight transport also contributes to enhancing the flow of road traffic. The fact that full 24/7 use of the infrastructure is possible, without restrictions on driving times and rest periods for drivers, helps to increase the productivity and efficiency of the road network. Fewer accidents caused by human error and the resulting reduction in consequential damage will also have a positive effect on traffic flow.
By 2030, the Netherlands will be leading the way in implementing Connected & Automated Transport for road freight in Europe. In figures, this means that on specific routes known as LivingLabs 100% Connected & Automated transport will be possible; that 20% of the freight transport between the IMIAT member transport companies, within the LivingLab, will be carried out autonomously and that IMIAT will be involved in the implementation of CAT on two international routes.
CAT will involve vehicles with load capacities ranging from a single pallet to a full truck or container.
Experimenting and testing
Introducing CAT in practice overnight without testing would be unthinkable. It must be preceded by professional phased experiments, simulations, tests and homologations of all innovations. Functional Safety Compliance (FSC ISO 26262) and Safety Integration Levels (SIL IEC 50128) must be given priority. The test phase is carried out in a virtual environment ('Digital Twin') that adequately matches the real situation. In addition, testing and implementation will take place in a closed environment, a semi-open environment and in real-life in areas relevant to the use case. The Experiments Act allows for professional testing on the road after thorough preparation.
Working group approach
Working groups have been created within IMIAT in which companies, authorities and knowledge institutions have discussed the problem definition, possible solutions and deliverables per working group topic. These working groups form the backbone of practice-oriented projects that the IMIAT partners will set up with parties including transport companies and OEMs. Thus, working groups and projects will shape the result of the IMIAT programme together. Each project that is completed constitutes a milestone in IMIAT's ambition. Each working group included companies, knowledge institutes and governments with an interest in sharing, testing and applying knowledge. The working groups defined in IMIAT are: Closed test track, Living Lab, Virtual test track, National and International Infrastructure, Vehicle, Monitoring/evaluation, Regulation, Project management and Organisation and Processes. Detailed feedback from the working groups is available on request.
Currently, the IMIAT proposal is being further developed so that it can be submitted to various regional, national and international funds. After the allocation of the necessary budget, IMIAT will run for a total of 10 years. At the start of the first year, the organisation and the capacity for implementing IMIAT will be built up. The project plan referred to earlier will also be delivered at that time.
The actual execution of IMIAT will start in mid-2021. Initially, CAT will take the form of a small-scale test. Through a number of growth steps, CAT will be scaled up to the LivingLab environment in around 2028. Between 2028 to 2030, the implementation will be improved and the number of transport movements will be increased. An evaluation will be carried out in the last year of IMIAT's lifetime. Based on this evaluation, it will be decided how best to exploit the added value.
Almost 20 organisations have already joined IMIAT and will participate actively in the implementation of the programme, along with some organisations that are part of the advisory board. DB Schenker, KLG, Ewals Cargo Care and TRTA have joined from the transport sector.
Technology companies also play a major role. Data and data processing are indispensable to the automotive industry. TBA, ICT Group, Technolution, V-tron, Siemens, Hyster and Terberg Benschop have also joined. The knowledge institutions involved are HAN, Fontys, and Erasmus University.
ACE mobility invites companies, knowledge institutes and governments who are interested in IMIAT to contact us. They can join the consortium and participate in the working groups that are relevant to them.
For more information contact Jeroen van der Werf: firstname.lastname@example.org