Tuesday, February 27

The UPC and Carnet develop an autonomous vehicle for last-mile logistics

  • This 1.7 meter long prototype can travel at a maximum speed of 20 km/h and even go up and down stairs.

  • The UPC and Carnet ADD will be tested this year in real environments in Esplugues de Llobregat, Hamburg, and Debrecen, Hungary.

A team from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) Y Notebook, the future mobility research ‘hub’ coordinated by the Innovation and Technology Center (CIT-UPC) and founded by the same university, Volkswagen Group Research Y Seat in 2014, they have presented an autonomous delivery vehicle (ADD) to propose a solution for last-mile logistics, the most expensive for delivery companies and the one responsible, according to the statement, for the 20% from pollution of cities.

The ADD of the UPC and Carnet is a prototype of an autonomous vehicle capable of circulating at a maximum of 20 kilometers per hour and to go up and down stairs up to 20 centimeters high. barely measure 1.7 meters long, by 1.1 meters wide and one meter high. This vehicle is the result of a project that started in 2017, financed by Volkswagen Group Innovation, with a theoretical study after which the vehicle was conceptualized. The prototype began to be designed in 2018 and so far work has been done on the functional platform, the outer casing and the goods delivery service. In 2019, the communication system between the ADD, users and citizens was defined.

Currently, the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics, lead by Alberto San Feliu, teacher and researcher, works on the robot’s sensors. During this year, the ADD will be tested in three real environments, starting with Esplugues de Llobregat and culminating in Hamburg, Germany, and Debrecen, Hungary. These activities will be carried out within the framework of the project Logismile, funded by the EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

Improve congestion and air quality

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In addition to delivery duties, the ADD could have other uses. According to UPC, this vehicle “could also analyze the quality of the pavement and the air, thanks to the data coming from its sensors”. Even so, the main objective of this type of vehicle would be to contribute to the decongestion of urban roads in a context of growth in electronic commerce and structural changes in supply chains with models such as ‘just in time’ or ‘stock zero’ gaining followers.

From the UPC They also argue that the shortage of places for loading and unloading commercial vehicles and urban regulations cause logistics companies to assume a very high cost in last-mile logistics, which takes a 40% of the total transport costs. The university states that the deployment of models such as the ADD It would allow these costs to be redistributed to optimize the service and gain efficiency.