AWARD: Scaling autonomous logistics

AWARD (All Weather Autonomous Real logistics operations and Demonstrations) is a three year Innovation Action performed by a consortium of 29 partners coordinated by EasyMile. Starting on the 1st of January 2021, the project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

AWARD’s objective is to bring disruptive changes in the logistic industry by scaling Autonomous Driving Vehicles (AD Vehicles) system and Logistics Operation & Fleet Management (LOFM) system for heavy-duty vehicles, targeting compliance with ISO 26262 and taking into consideration Safety Of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF) recommendations.

The AD Vehicles’ Autonomous Driving System (ADS) will be based on multiple sensor modalities and an embedded teleoperation system to address 24/7 availability. The ADS will then be integrated into multiple vehicle types used in low-speed areas. Finally, these vehicles will be deployed, integrated and operated in a variety of real-life use cases to validate their value in the application and identify any limitations and functional level to address 24/7 availability. This challenge will be particularly tackled by extending the AD Vehicles performances under harsh weather conditions (rain, fog, snow) that are today limiting the Operation Design Domain (ODD), which describes the specific conditions under which a given AD Vehicle or feature is intended to operate. These are to be developed along with an adapted regulatory framework for autonomous logistics operations in warehouses, airports, and ports.

AWARD is developing and operating safe autonomous transportation systems (ATS) in a wide range of real-life logistic use cases in a variety of different scenarios:

  • Warehouse: Autonomous truck loading with autonomous forklift demonstrator.
  • Hub-to-hub: Hub-to-hub shuttle service from warehouse/production site to logistics hubs.
  • Airport: Autonomous ground support equipment: transport of goods in indoor and outdoor environments.
  • Port: Container transfer operations and automated boat loading.

AWARD vision:
The final goal of AWARD is to enable an overall autonomous logistic chain through safe and efficient connected and automated heavy-duty vehicles in real logistics operations. The projects envisiones:

  • Innovation: AWARD contributes to accelerate the deployment of innovative connected and automated freight transport solutions in Europe.
  • Safety: AWARD increases the overall safety and efficiency of freight operations of individual trucks or fleets through innovative connected and automated driving systems.
  • Competiveness: AWARD supports the uptake of new business models to introduce the automation of logistics operations and reduce their costs. This will strengthen the European competitiveness in transport and logistics industries.
  • Replicability: The evaluation of the AWARD use cases and a deep analysis of the current regulatory framework will feed some policy recommendations to replicate the pilots in other logistics operations.

AWARD objectives:
The main objective of AWARD is to pave the way for the roll-out of driverless transportation in a wide variety of applications, whatever the weather conditions are. This will be demonstrated by running a range of real-world hub-type missions each with one or more autonomous driving fitted vehicles. The knowledge gained from these operations is designed to validate that the solution functions, scales and adds value for hub operator or fleets. AWARD will be a key step for a fully integrated freight management system. To achieve this goal, the following project objectives are defined:

  • Objective 1: To ensure that the AWARD solutions will address logistics needs.
  • Objective 2: To develop a safe and scalable autonomous driving system able to manage harsh weather conditions, qualified for heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Objective 3: To improve efficiency of logistics operations with autonomous heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Objective 4: To perform innovative autonomous heavy-duty vehicles missions in real logistics operations.
  • Objective 5: To provide insights and recommendations on the standardisation and harmonisation of certification processes and type approval.

AWARD key results:
AWARD focuses on highly replicable driverless logistics operations and targets a wide range of end-users, thus ensuring the maximum impacts of its results. AWARD will deliver six key exploitable results:

  • Key result 1: Definition of end-user’s specifications and requirements.
  • Key result 2: Safe and scalable autonomous driving system validated for harsh weather conditions.
  • Key result 3: Zero-emission driverless autonomous heavy-duty vehicles certified for extended ODDs.
  • Key result 4: Interoperable safe and secure fleet management and supervision system that optimizes logistics operations.
  • Key result 5: Demonstrations of fully available automated heavy duty vehicle performing 24/7 for real logistics operations.
  • Key result 6: Policy recommendations regarding the regulatory framework for the deployment of fully automated heavy duty vehicle operating real logistics operations in extended ODDs.

AWARD is paving the way for the roll-out of driverless transportation, whatever the weather conditions are. It will deploy safe and efficient connected and automated heavy-duty vehicles in real-life logistics operations.

AWARD in numbers:
• 28 partners.
• 12 countries.
• 36 months.
• 26 million euro.

ITS Norway’s COO, Trond Hovland, have written an article for the AWARD project which you can read here – “AWARD at the heart of Intelligent Transport Systems”.

You can find AWARD in the following channels: