Project purpose and Description
The LogiSmile project pilot and validate a system for fully autonomous last-mile logistics. This system is made of three complementary components:
– An autonomous delivery device (ADD). This is a medium-sized autonomous vehicle (volume around 1 m3). Its size and the particular design of its chassis make it very flexible, in particular in pedestrian areas or on sidewalks. This vehicle was conceptualized by CARNET and the UPC. A prototype has been built (TRL 6) and is ready for validation in complex urban environments.
– An autonomous hub vehicle (AHV). This autonomous robot is bigger than the ADD and acts as a mobile hub. Its high capacity increases the economies of scale of the whole system but decreases its flexibility and manoeuvrability. The combination of the AHV and ADD(s) is designed to take advantage of these complementary characteristics. The AHV, which can be strategically positioned within the city depending on the demand, acts as a mobile feeder for the ADD(s) that make the final delivery to the customer. The AHV was conceptualized by NFF. A prototype at TRL 6 is now ready to be validated.
– A remote back-end control centre collaboratively designed by LMAD, ALTRAN, NFF, and PTV, based on LMAD’s already existing digital platform. The role of the back-end control centre is to manage the communication between the ADD and the AHV, acquire on-field data, optimize the fleet operations with efficient routing and cooperation algorithms and provide a fail-operational solution in case of complex situations that cannot be solved autonomously.
The cities present in the consortium (Esplugues de Llobregat, Debrecen and Hamburg) were the test beds of this integrated solution (AHV, ADD, cooperation strategy, and back-end control centre). In addition, they explored their infrastructure and legal framework to operate the ADD and AHV, revising their current traffic policies, including a Code of Conduct and human-vehicle interactions, sharing of data and interaction with 3rd parties e.g. pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
Objectives and Outcomes
LogiSmile partners – The LogiSmile partners validate their prototypes in complex and diverse urban environments (3 pilot cities from 3 countries with distinct social and urbanistic backgrounds). It was planned that the ADD and AHV travelled 2,000 vehicle kilometres autonomously during the first year of the LogiSmile project. This approximately corresponds to 300 hours of demonstration in the 4 pilots. In the second year of the project, we foresee that around 2,000 parcels will be autonomously delivered by the ADD and the AHV (6-month pilot use case, 20 parcels per day autonomously delivered).
Policymakers – One of the main objectives of the LogiSmile partners is also to demonstrate to the policymakers and urban planners involved in the project that autonomous delivery robots (in general, not only the ADD and the AHV) are safe and that a sustainable deployment is possible. Freight autonomous vehicles will undoubtedly be introduced in the market earlier than passenger autonomous cars because they raise fewer safety or liability concerns. As a first step towards the robotization of urban operations, autonomous delivery robots will increase user acceptance towards autonomous technologies, and, in the end, facilitate the emergence of passenger autonomous vehicles.
European innovation ecosystem – The technology validated in the project is fully European. The project is a great opportunity to bridge the technological gap that exists between Europe and the United States or China in this field of autonomous delivery robots (Nuro is already operating on a commercial basis in California). We want to set the ground for a harmonious deployment of European robots in cooperation with cities (not against them).
LSPs – Demonstrate new technologies and delivery strategies that have the potential to decrease operational costs and overcome future regulations regarding pollution restriction and access to city centres.