The AWARD Project is a great opportunity not only to test the state of the art of EasyMile Autonomous Vehicle in representative operations but also to get a glimpse at what may yet come. The diversity of sensor data provided by our partners helped us consolidate our belief as to how to address All Weather use cases and ensure reliable, safe, 24/7 autonomous operations.
DAY 1- June 12: Tract Easy vehicle test, the Airport use case
On June 12, 2023, in Toulouse, France, the AWARD H2020 project consortium showcased cutting-edge innovations and advancements in Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) specifically designed for airport logistics operations. The event served as a platform for clients in the aviation industry to gain valuable insights and engage in networking opportunities. The program featured a captivating Tract Easy vehicle demonstration at the Francazal testing site, where participants witnessed the AV’s capabilities firsthand. The focus of the testing was on ensuring safety in the presence of pedestrians, with two scenarios being explored. The first involved testing the AV’s performance during rainy conditions, for which the EasyMile team simulated rain at the testing site. The second scenario involved the autonomous movement of cargo across an airfield, showcasing the AV’s on-demand capabilities.
The event facilitated productive discussions among esteemed experts and stakeholders in the aviation industry, fostering a collaborative environment to exchange ideas and perspectives on the future of autonomous vehicles in airport logistics.
Current safety systems in Vehicles perform well in "normal conditions" - daytime and good visibility. They are challenged in the dark, glare, and harsh weather conditions. Adasky thermal camera allows the extension of the operational envelope of these systems as the camera works very well exactly where others are challenged - Night, glare, and harsh weather. Logistics is a 24/7 operation all year round. Making it autonomous and highly safe for the workers and pedestrians in the working zones is a worthy goal. Adasky is proud to have its cameras on the AWARD industrial vehicles to allow the ODD the full extended ability in the various operations of hub-to-hub, port, airport, and forklift duties to recognize early enough safety challenges, especially with living beings.
DAY 2- June 13: the morning and afternoon session
During the informative morning session, the team had the privilege of gaining insights directly from industry experts. Here are the highlights:
- Julien Collier the project officer at Easy Mile, and Maxim Arbitmann from Continental provided updates on the overall project progress;
- Patrik Zips representing AIT delivered valuable insights regarding the application of the Forklift vehicle in warehouse use cases;
- Hannes Watzinger at Digitrans along with Alexandra Marlier at Easy Mile presented a hub-to-hub use case that involved the testing of the KAMAG vehicle. The testing for this use case commenced on June 12th in Gunskirchen, Austria;
- Mads Skovsgaard Rasmussen from DFDS, in collaboration with Alexandra Marlier at EasyMile engaged in a discussion focused on port use cases. They specifically addressed the Terberg vehicle and its application within this particular use case;
- Julien Collier from Easy Mile, enlightened the audience on the Tract Easy vehicle and its use case in airports.
- Julien Collier along with Clara Pawlak, and Morgane Di Fruscia at Absiskey provided an in-depth explanation of project management and shared the next steps for large-scale implementation.
Following the comprehensive discussions, work package leaders addressed the main challenges and achievements in the following areas:
- Maxim Arbitmann from Continental shared insights into the design and development of autonomous driving technologies for harsh weather conditions;
- Alexandra Marlier from Easy Mile covered various topics, including safety and technical specifications, design, implementation, integration, autonomization, and safety and SOTIF verification and validation;
- Rebecca Ronke from Applied Autonomy focused on the fleet management system;
- Mads Skovsgaard Rasmussen from DFDS provided insights into autonomous driving demonstrations in real logistics operations;
- Sami Koskinen from VTT discussed airport simulation;
- Ted Zotos and Victoire Couelle from IRU delved into the economic viability of the project, the definition of new business models, and the establishment of regulatory frameworks;
- Loha Hashimy from Enide shared information about dissemination, communication, and exploitation efforts
AWARD already provides exploitable results. These outcomes signify the project's success in translating research and development efforts into tangible benefits and practical solutions. The project has yielded technologies, methodologies, and prototypes that have demonstrated their potential for practical application, opening up new opportunities and innovations in the field of automated transport.
The morning session proved to be an enriching experience, offering valuable knowledge and fostering collaborative discussions among the participants.
The AWARD consortium meeting featured the project officer, Sergio Escriba, the Head of Sector Automated Transport at CINEA, European Commission, who shared valuable insights on project milestones and future steps. Consortium members engaged in an interactive Q&A session, drawing conclusions that will guide them towards the project’s successful completion. This meeting provided a strategic outlook, aligning the project with European objectives and fostering collaboration among members. With a clearer understanding of the path ahead, the consortium is well-prepared to maximize the AWARD project’s impact in the field of automated transport.
During this 2nd day, the team addressed not only the project milestones and future steps but also emphasized the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing among consortium members. The session provided a platform for in-depth discussions on key challenges and opportunities in the field of automated transport. The consortium members gained valuable insights into emerging trends and innovative approaches, enabling them to make informed decisions and enhance the project’s overall impact. This collaborative environment fostered a sense of shared vision and collective responsibility, ensuring that the AWARD project continues to contribute to the advancement of automated transport technology.
Cerema's STI research team is delighted to have contributed its expertise to demonstrate the performance of the AWARD sensor suite in adverse weather conditions. The demonstration carried out by Easymile in rainy conditions during the PGA was proof of this. Cerema is now fully involved in the publication and distribution of the results obtained.
Applied Autonomy's fleet management system supports all four use cases, optimizing the vehicle's operations with regards to both efficiency and safety by collecting and using information from the operating environment as a whole. In particular the integration with existing operational logistics systems allows the fleet management to help the use cases exploit the full benefits of autonomous vehicles.
DAY 3- June 14: the PGA meeting
The Project General Assembly meeting served as a pivotal gathering, bringing together representatives from each partner organization. The primary objective of this meeting was to engage in comprehensive discussions and finalize the project planning process. With all partners present, valuable insights, perspectives, and expertise were shared, ensuring that the project’s strategic direction and objectives were fine-tuned to meet the desired outcomes. Through collaborative deliberations and thorough analysis, the General Assembly meeting played a crucial role in aligning the efforts of all stakeholders and establishing a cohesive roadmap for the project’s successful implementation. The exchange of ideas and the collective decision-making during this meeting contributed to a shared understanding and a unified vision, setting the stage for efficient execution and fruitful collaboration among the partner organizations.
As the innovation manager of the project, I strive to push towards commercialization of innovative solutions developed in AWARD-H2020, one of the largest Horizon 2020 funded projects dedicated to Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) in the logistics industry. As pioneers, we are breaking new ground by introducing heavy-duty vehicles to the world of logistics. Together, we are revolutionizing the way goods are transported and setting a new standard for efficiency and innovation.
Commending the Fruitful Journey: Celebrating Three Days of Team Effort and Gratitude
The AWARD H2020 consortium extends heartfelt appreciation to the Easy Mile team for their impeccable organization and outstanding hosting at this mid-year meeting. The AWARD H2020 team is now fully prepared to embark on the final steps, equipped with the necessary confidence and enthusiasm to achieve our goals successfully.