Research Project

LOGISMILE 2023: Last mile logistics for autonomous goods delivery


European Project

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Project Description

The amount of goods to be delivered in metropolitan areas will increase dramatically in the next few years. Deliveries are more frequent and fragmented, especially because of a skyrocketing use of e-commerce. Todays logistics operations in city centers lead to very negative effects: increase in traffic congestion; safety problems for pedestrians, bikers and deliverers; air and noise pollution. To tackle these challenges, the LogiSmile partners will demonstrate in pilot cities a fully autonomous delivery system consisting of an autonomous hub vehicle that works in cooperation with a smaller autonomous delivery device. To control the robots and remotely coordinate the fleet operations, a back-end control center will be piloted too. The robots and remote back-end control center will be tested in different urban environments. This autonomous delivery system will reduce delivery costs, parking problems, emissions and congestion. It will ensure flexible, rapid, and convenient deliveries.

The LogiSmile partners will 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-size autonomous vehicle conceptualized by CARNET and the UPC. A second new version of this prototype will participate this year, with upgraded mechanical characteristics and improved autonomous capabilities, which make the robot more flexible in urban and complex environments. A prototype at TRL 7 is now ready to be validated.
- An autonomous hub vehicle (AHV). This autonomous robot is bigger than the ADD and acts as a mobile hub. 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, and its command and control center is planned to be validated at TRL7.
- A remote back-end control center, based on LMAD’s already existing digital platform. The role of the back-end control center 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 ADD and AHV can be operated separately, depending on the needs of future end users. Nevertheless, the main innovation of the project resides in the joint collaboration of the 2 robots, that has the potential to greatly decrease last-mile logistics operation costs. This year, the consortium will validate the integrated solution considering also both robots’ cooperation on-site, in a new testbed in the city of Braunschweig. The participation of a Logistic Operator in the piloting phase will ensure a business-oriented demonstration. In addition, the autonomous delivery market status, main players and potential clients of the joint transportation management system solution will be explored, as well as their scalability plan for deploying and commercializing its service.

Project Publications

Journal Publications

  • I. del Pino, A. Santamaria-Navarro, A. Garrell Zulueta, F. Torres and J. Andrade-Cetto. Probabilistic graph-based real-time ground segmentation for urban robotics. IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles, 2024, to appear.

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  • C. Lemardelé, A. Baldó, A. Aniculaesei, A. Rausch, M. Conill, L. Everding, T. Vietor, T. Hegerhorst, R. Henze, L. Mátyus, L. Pagès, V. Roca, A. Sanfeliu, A. Santamaria-Navarro and I. Tóháti. The LogiSmile Project - Piloting Autonomous Vehicles for Last-Mile Logistics in European cities. Transportation Research Procedia, 71: 180-187, 2023.

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