24.–26.05.2023 #polismobility

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Mobility 4.0 in the real lab:

Highly automated robotic vehicles for the smart city

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Since the beginning of the year, the EDAG Group has been researching a complete ecosystem for mobility, transport and service tasks of a smart city in a real laboratory on the Deutsche Bank Park site. The "Campus FreeCity" project is investigating how the traffic of the future will be sustainably influenced by new fields of technology such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things or autonomous driving.

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

During the two-and-a-half-year term, interdisciplinary teams from a total of eight partners from science and industry are working on a comprehensive ecosystem for the efficient, sustainable and user-friendly implementation of a selection of urban mobility and transport tasks as well as municipal services. Central to this are highly automated robotic vehicles (EDAG CityBots), which can be used for a wide variety of tasks thanks to their modular design. In order for the networked fleet to be able to prioritize the transport and inspection tasks that arise, the EDAG Group is also providing support in the development of a mobility platform for efficient fleet and task management. The system will be tested for the first time in the "Arena of IoT" digital center in the Deutsche Bank Park soccer stadium in Frankfurt am Main during the 2nd half of 2023; the laboratory operation phase will extend until before the start of the 2024 European Championship.

The project is intended to provide municipalities with insights into how urban mobility can function in a smart city in the future. The consortium consists of EDAG Engineering GmbH, EintrachtTech GmbH, T-Systems International GmbH, COMPREDICT GmbH, DEKRA Automobil GmbH, Fulda University of Applied Sciences and Darmstadt University of Technology. House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM) GmbH is responsible for overall coordination. The "Campus FreeCity" project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) with a total of 10.9 million euros as part of the AI innovation offensive.

Transport of goods and people - diversity of variants through modularity

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

The first tests of the autonomous robot fleet will begin in and around the stadium grounds a year earlier. Depending on the intended use, the CityBots will be equipped with different modules for this purpose. A central scenario is the transport of goods, whereby the possible applications here are diverse: from the transport of beverages and food to waste of the most varied kinds. On the 42-hectare Deutsche Bank Park site, the robot vehicles are expected to make a significant contribution to the automation and smartification of the stadium. A specially developed mobility platform plays a central role here. The vehicles communicate with their environment, whether with stationary infrastructure sensors for watering playing fields and green areas or for handling an order and billing system. The integrated control system connects all key interfaces with each other, thereby creating new application and business models.

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

The EDAG CityBots can be used variably due to their modular design. © EDAG Group

The second central use case is the transportation of people on the stadium grounds, especially visitors with limited mobility. "The stadium is ideal for testing robotic vehicles in a practical environment, as we see a wide range of use cases in the areas of mobility and transportation at Deutsche Bank Park," says Dr. Oliver Bäcker, Head of the Digital Center "Arena of IoT" at EintrachtTech GmbH. The insights gained are to be transferred from the smart stadium to the context of a smart city.
To ensure that the various tasks can be performed with different train and utility modules of the EDAG CityBot, the company is working on a specific distribution and communication architecture. An innovative avatar is the central communication point for interaction. For this purpose, the EDAG Group is designing, implementing and validating the basic central interaction and flow logic around language, gestures and symbolism in close cooperation with the University of Darmstadt and the University of Applied Sciences Fulda. Furthermore, a closed-loop engineering process for the CityBot is being researched. The goal is to continuously and automatically optimize the hardware of the CityBot based on live data. This should enable the robot to achieve maximum efficiency in operation and system agility under changing boundary conditions.

The ambition is to use EDAG CityBots to demonstrate in a real-world environment that robotic vehicles can provide socially relevant and sustainable benefits when used in a targeted manner and adapted to interact with humans.

Author

Csilla Letay