AWARD H2020 - Project update: green light for test operation in Gunskirchen
After a large number of tests on the Digitrans test center for automated driving in St. Valentin, the time had finally come on June 12: The KAMAG vehicle was ready for use in Gunskirchen, on the approximately 600-meter route between the BRP-Rotax plant and the DB Schenker logistics site. Two major challenges have to be overcome: the transport has to function reliably even in adverse weather conditions such as rain or snow, which places high demands on the vehicles’ sensor technology. And: the route runs over a public road.
Test operation with safety driver
For around two years, the vehicle’s sensor technology was tested and developed at the Digitrans Test Center for Automated Driving in St. Valentin. The next step is now testing under real conditions on partly public roads. Until the end of September, driving will take place in the evening hours; an expansion is planned for the second phase until the end of October. During all tests, there will always be a safety driver in the vehicle who can intervene in an emergency.
“A technical prerequisite for this is a traffic light system that regulates driving on the public road. For the first time, a so-called C-ITS traffic light is used in Gunskirchen, which communicates continuously with the vehicle, but also with the surrounding infrastructure. Upper Austria is thus once again a pioneer in autonomous transport solutions,” says a delighted Markus Achleitner, Provincial Councillor for Economics and Research, who recently inspected the system on site together with Günther Steinkellner, Provincial Councillor for Infrastructure.
The special feature of the traffic light system, which makes automated driving possible in the first place, is its networking with the environment and the vehicle: in order to be able to guarantee safe automated driving, the research vehicle, an electrically powered truck, is equipped with state-of-the-art sensor technology and the associated hardware and software. In addition, the vehicle is networked with the surrounding infrastructure. For example, the weather station or the entrance and exit gates of the two company sites.
Statements of the project partners
“Innovation and technological progress have always been firmly anchored in our corporate DNA. We are all the more pleased to be on board as a partner in this forward-looking project. Networked, fully automated production processes are already firmly established at our Gunskirchen plant, and the next logical step is now to extend them to other areas of the company, such as logistics. Even though there is of course still some way to go, the traffic light for autonomous transport vehicles in Upper Austria is literally green,” explains Wolfgang Rapberger, General Manager BRP-Rotax / Representative of the Management Board, Vice President Global Sourcing & Operations Powertrain
“We are very pleased that we were able to complete the test operation on the secured Digitrans test center so successfully and that we can now bring fully autonomous driving to Austria’s roads in real operation together with our project partners,” says Mag. Alexander Winter, CEO of DB Schenker in Austria and Southeastern Europe, adding, “This project is driving forward the real use of autonomous freight transport solutions in Europe as well as throughout the world.”
Gunskirchen’s mayor Christian Schöffmann wishes the project every success: “In Gunskirchen, we are on the verge of another mobile revolution – in the future, autonomous vehicles will actively participate in road traffic. Upper Austria has focused here on the area of autonomous freight transport. The use of a driverless electric truck will reduce our CO2 emissions in the long term and increase flexibility in the production process of BRP-Rotax and DB Schenker. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations for this project with the title Award, which is managed in Upper Austria by DigiTrans GmbH.
About the AWARD project - Hub-to-Hub Use Case for Automated Freight Transport
28 partners from twelve countries are working together under the consortium leadership of easymile in the AWARD project to make autonomous transport vehicles suitable for all-weather use in logistics applications and thus more widely usable. To this end, application examples are being implemented at Oslo Airport, at the port near Rotterdam, at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology in Seibersdorf, and at BRP-Rotax and DB Schenker in Gunskirchen. AWARD is funded within the framework of the European research and innovation funding program HORIZON 2020.
The Austrian project partners are:
BRP-ROTAX GmbH & CO KG
DB SCHENKER Austria
Linz Center of Mechatronics
Logistikum of the Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences
Austrian Institute of Technology
Automotive Cluster Upper Austria
Business Upper Austria
DigiTrans GmbH – Test Coordinator
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