On 10 June 2022, the autonomous delivery vehicle Ona was tested in a real-world urban environment in Barcelona. The demonstration took place in the Can Vidalet neighborhood of the city of Esplugues de Llobregat, in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The Ona robot is also being piloted in Hamburg in Germany, and Debrecen in Hungary.
The test is part of the European project, LogiSmile, aiming to reduce traffic congestion, which causes safety problems for pedestrians, cyclists, and couriers as well as air and noise pollution. A fully autonomous delivery system for last-mile logistics operations can therefore tackle these challenges, reducing operational costs and parking problems, while ensuring flexible, rapid, and convenient delivery of goods.
The implementation of a digital and innovative transport system – which includes goods delivery logistics – is one of the four pillars of the Spanish Sustainable Mobility Law, recently approved by the Ministry for Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (MITMA). Cities are assessing their infrastructure and legal framework to operate the system, revising their current traffic policies, and establishing a Code of Conduct to regulate human-autonomous vehicle interactions, drafting guidelines on sharing of data and interaction with the so-called vulnerable road users, e.g. pedestrians and cyclists. The project thus contributes to the decarbonisation of the city, pursued by the MITMA.
The event was attended by Raquel Sánchez, the Minister of the MITMA; Pilar Díaz, the City Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat; Daniel Crespo, the Rector of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech (UPC); Laia Pagès, the Executive and Scientific Manager at CARNET; Daniel Serra, the Director of EIT Urban Mobility Innovation Hub South, and other partners of the project.
The Minister of the MITMA, Raquel Sánchez, recalled during the event that digital mobility solutions, and in particular autonomous technologies, are increasingly becoming part of the urban mobility system and could help overcome urban mobility challenges, especially those related to last-mile logistics, including safety and sustainability. The pilot was made possible thanks to the collaboration between public administrations, research centres, universities and companies, which is crucial to achieve safe, efficient and digitalised mobility that respects the planet and people’s health.
Finally, the pilot aims to show policy makers and city planners that autonomous delivery robots are safe and improve the efficiency of urban goods distribution. The LogiSmile project envisages the construction and validation of an autonomous hub vehicle (AHV) that works with smaller robots, autonomous delivery devices (ADD), and a remote back-end control centre managing communication between the main vehicle and other devices, collecting and sharing data, optimising fleet operations and providing a fail-safe solution should a complex situation arise.
For more information on the LogiSmile project check the EIT Urban Mobility website.
Original article published by EIT Urban Mobility on 13 June 2022.
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