NEWS - 2022/03/22

First LogiSmile Test at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) Concludes with Positive Results

During the first weeks of March, the Barcelona Robot Lab has hosted pilot tests within the LogiSmile project. In this European project led by CARNET and co-funded by the EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, the consortium partners will demonstrate a fully autonomous delivery system for last-mile logistics in 3 different pilot cities with distinct social and urbanistic backgrounds (Esplugues de Llobregat – Spain, Hamburg – Germany, and Debrecen – Hungary) in order to improve the efficiency of urban goods distribution.

After several weeks of working on the ADD inside the laboratory, the IRI-UPC (Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial) centre conducted navigation tests in an outdoor controlled environment. These experiments were held in the Barcelona Robot Lab (UPC North Campus, Barcelona), a public area where students from different faculties are constantly going around from one to another of the existing facilities such as the library, classrooms, restaurants, among others. Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial is the Spanish academic partner in the project dedicated to robotics and AI research.

The first relevant aspect was the validation of the Autonomous Delivery Device (ADD) navigation. Both hardware (the robot itself) and software (back-end control centre) were on trial. Although the weather conditions were not the most optimal (cold and rainy weather), the team was able to set up the system to make the ADD navigate autonomously through pedestrian zones. The ADD was able to successfully calculate the optimal trajectory to reach a given destination point on the campus square from its previous position.

The new capabilities of the robot were also demonstrated in an experiment conducted in close cooperation with urban and mobility planners to analyse the integration of the last-mile logistics robots in the urban public space at a society level. The activity consisted of a real experiment in which passers-by were intercepted on their way by the robot. After that, their opinions and perceptions were gathered in a survey. The answers are now being analysed, and the results will help understand the impact this particular mode of logistics has on cities and citizens. Moreover, the identification of possible application areas for the robot in the near and long-term future, and the formulation of representative use cases in the target cities were also investigated by the partners.

Finally, Dr Nikolai Ardey, Executive Director of Volkswagen Group Innovation, attended a real demonstration of the ADD autonomous navigation capabilities while visiting CARNET, an innovation hub part of Volkswagen Group Innovation. The LogiSmile project, together with other initiatives in which CARNET is involved, was presented to him as an example of the activities conducted within the mobility research hub.

In the upcoming months, before the official pilot in Esplugues de Llobregat in June, the consortium will continue to advance the development of the autonomous robot, improving the navigation capabilities, adapting the transport management platform of the system, and working on the supervision tasks and remote-control centre.

The LogiSmile project, co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility, is developed under the lead of CARNET in close collaboration with Area Metropolitana de Barcelona, Capgemini Engineering, DKV Debrecen, Esplugues de Llobregat City Council, ITS Hamburg, Last Mile Autonomous Delivery, NFF – TU Braunschweig, Otostolik, PTV Group, Dirección General de Tráfico, UPC-IRI, and UPC-CDEI.