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European consortium launches 5G transportation project

A public-private partnership made up of 28 members from the Netherlands, Flanders, Switzerland and the Czech Republic has secured a €10 million (US$11.2 million) grant by the European Union (EU) for the international research project "5G Blueprint".

The project, which will commence on 1 September 2020 and run for three years, is investigating how remote control (tele-operation) technology can be used to make transport and logistics more efficient – including across borders.

The new consortium, in which North Sea Port, Port of Antwerp and Nxtport are participating, is 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.

5G-Blueprint will design and validate a technical architecture, business model and governance model for uninterrupted cross-border tele-operated transport for roads and maritime-based on 5G connectivity between the ports of Antwerp (Belgium) and Vlissingen (Netherlands), according to EU.

The project has been awarded a grant from the EU 'Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation’ programme under 'Grant Agreement' number 952189.

The project will test and validate advanced connected and automated mobility (CAM) use cases remote operation of trucks, cars, pods, and barges and its outcome should be usable as the blueprint for subsequent operational pan-European deployment of tele-operated transport solutions in the logistics sector and beyond.

The aim, according to a statement, is to be able to remotely steer and support vehicles and vessels. This is expected to improve the accessibility of the important North Sea Port (Vlissingen, Terneuzen and Ghent) to Antwerp logistics corridor, In addition, it can support the increase of employment and strengthen the competitive position of that area.

Asked by Container News, North Sea Port communications manager Johan Bresseleers said that these technological developments will make processes less time-consuming. "Shippers will not have to wait and can go to another job," he commented.

Furthermore, the 5G Blueprint project will investigate digital technologies and telecommunications possibilities and one of the tools which will be used will be the new 5G telecommunications technology. The project will also look at safety, costs and benefits, division of responsibilities, collaboration and standardisation, according to an announcement.

The insights and lessons from this three-year project will be applied directly in this region where possible, said North Sea Port, but they will also be important as a new standard and working method – as a 'Blueprint' – for other areas and sectors.

The participating parties:

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (including the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management)KPNRoboAuto
Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works (including the Agency for Roads and Traffic)IMECSeafar
Toyota Motor EuropeBe-MobilePort of Antwerp
Verbrugge InternationalV-TronMartel Innovate
Economische Impuls ZeelandRoom40Transport Joosen
Swarco NederlandKloosterboerNorth Sea Port
HZ University of Applied SciencesNxtportTerberg Benschop
More Work Less CarbonEurofiberSweco Nederland
HAN University of Applied SciencesLocatienet

Antonis Karamalegkos

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