Automated freight transport

In this WP7 article, we focus on some logistic concepts enabled by connected automated transport systems (CATS) and what disruptive changes we can expect from them. Freight transport is one of the three use cases in the LEVITATE project, beside urban transport and passenger cars. The overall goal is:

  • to identify how each area of impact (safety, environment, economy and society) will be affected by the introduction and transition of CATS in freight transport,
  • to assess its impacts, benefits and costs,•to test interactions of the examined impactsof freight transport, and
  • to prioritise considerations for a public policy support tool to help authority decisions.

Have a look at the whole article, written by: Bin Hu (AIT), Maria-Cellen Sawas (AIT), Melitta Dragaschnig (AIT), Clovis Seragiotto (AIT) and Marian Ralbovsky (AIT).

Watch first webinar: the future impacts of automation in freight transport

Will freight transport and logistics become safer, more effective or integrated as a result of automated technologies on the market? Find out by watching the first LEVITATE webinar!

The first LEVITATE webinar on 23 April was framed around the opportunities and challenges that freight transport is facing as a result of innovations in automated technologies. Looking at the current situation we are living in, discussions were also focused around the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the sector. Furthermore, expected changes in the implementation and operation of freight and logistics systems in the post-COVID times were on the table.

The webinar was kicked off by Pete Thomas, project coordinator of LEVITATE, who gave a brief introduction about the project. It was followed by a LEVITATE-focused presentation from Bin Hu, Scientist at the Austrian Institute of Technology, who is leading the freight-related use case in the project. He presented about the impact of automation on urban parcel delivery through the results of micro-simulations and operations research carried out in the framework of the project.

Thanks to Fernando Liesa, Secretary General of ALICE (Alliance for Logistics Innovation through Collaboration in Europe), attendees learnt about the work of ALICE and how they help European logistical companies to keep up with developments and new strategies through collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The main research question which has been answered was how automation can help freight transport and logistics to reach zero-emission targets by 2050 and become more integrated on a European level. Fernando also pointed out some new challenges in the face of COVID-19 in relation to protecting vehicle drivers and riders during the pandemic by using automated technologies.

Last but not at least, Kris Neyens, Manager at VIL (Flemish Innovation Cluster for Logistics) presented one of their own projects after introducing their multidisciplinary collaboration in the Flemish freight sector. In project ALEES (self-driving logistical electric units for urban environments), VIL is testing autonomous urban logistical entities to distribute parcels throughout dense urban areas, for example through a demonstration in Mechelen to develop the software behind the technology and create the legislative environment for future operation. If you are curious about the previously mentioned project, you can read more here or we welcome you to watch the presentation during the recorded webinar below.