News

€10 million in European support for international research project into tele-operated logistics and transport

Published on Thu 18 Jun 2020
Under the name ‘5G Blueprint’, an international research project is investigating how tele-operation can be used to make transport and logistics more efficient – including across borders. North Sea Port is one of the partners.

A public-private partnership made up of members from the Netherlands, Flanders, Switzerland and the Czech Republic has been granted a subsidy of €10 million euros by the European Union for this purpose. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, together with (among others) the Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works, the port authorities North Sea Port and Port of Antwerp, the business community and the academic sector, has set up a consortium with 28 members. Together they are investigating how transport and logistics can be made more efficient with the aid of remote control (tele-operation) technology – including across borders. The 5G Blueprint project will commence on 1 September 2020 and run for three years.

Tele-operation of vehicles and vessels

The parties involved are investigating how exchanging real-time data to and from vehicles, between terminals and vehicles and between vehicles and their head offices can contribute to greater efficiency in the supply chain and help mitigate driver shortages. The aim is to be able to remotely steer and support vehicles and vessels. This is expected to not only improve the accessibility of the important North Sea Port (Vlissingen, Terneuzen and Ghent) to Antwerp logistics corridor, but also to increase employment and strengthen the competitive position of that area. New 5G telecommunications technology will be one of the tools used.

New standard and working method

The 5G Blueprint project will investigate digital technologies and telecommunications possibilities. The project will also look at safety, costs and benefits, division of responsibilities, collaboration and standardisation. The insights and lessons from this three-year project will be applied directly in this region where possible. But they will also be important as a new standard and working method – as a 'Blueprint' – for other areas and sectors.

Collaboration

The 5G Blueprint project is an extension of the collaboration between the Netherlands and Flanders. A great deal of knowledge and experience is already being exchanged within existing programmes around intelligent traffic lights, 'Talking Traffic' and 'Mobilidata'. The management and development of standards are also being taken forwards jointly.

The participating parties are: the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (including the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management), Martel Innovate, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Sentors, Economische Impuls Zeeland, Locatienet, Swarco Nederland, KPN, V-Tron, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Sweco Nederland, Telenet, IMEC, Be-Mobile, the Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works (including the Agency for Roads and Traffic), Room40, Port of Antwerp, Nxtport, Eurofiber, Kloosterboer, More Work Less Carbon, RoboAuto, Seafar, Verbrugge International, Toyota Motor Europe, Transport Joosen, North Sea Port and Terberg Benschop.

This project has been awarded a grant from the EU 'Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation’ programme under 'Grant Agreement' number 952189. You can read the European Commission press release announcing the grant here.