Automated transport systems

Automated transport systems involve the application of modes of transport that function automatically, without human intervention.

The constantly evolving digital connection of persons and machines requires powerful networks and a corresponding infrastructure.

Autonomous traffic means a heavy load on the network resulting from many sensors that capture and transfer data nonstop. 5G telecommunication networks are 100 times faster than 4G networks and have a latency time ten times shorter.

The government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg has presented a plan for the national introduction of 5G technology and will include areas that make possible broad-scale logistical and industrial projects.

Road transport

For road traffic, automated driving depends on communication between vehicles (V2V) and communication between vehicles and infrastructures (V2I). Many systems of sensors (radar, lidar and sonar) attached on vehicles make V2I and V2V communication possible. (When a sensor automatically recognizes a red light, for example, the automobile will stop).

Vehicles equipped with a specialized communication system can exchange information with each other. (In the case of traffic congestion, for example, a vehicle following another is alerted by the vehicle in front and will automatically slow down).

Applications for the mobility of persons are different from logistical applications used in industrial zones, business parks and inter-modal transportation terminals that are easier to put in place with fewer regulatory constraints before an application on the road network is expected.

Fully autonomous trucks are already used on private land, but use on public highways is only authorized for specific projects with the presence of an accompanying person.

Different types of tractors can handle repetitive routes and short distances to transport large heavy loads in autonomous mode, in particular in port areas, logistical centres and factories. The principle of these utility vehicles is identical to that of autonomous automobiles.

Rail transport

The railway sector can utilise various technical systems, as in all transport sectors. Driverless trains have many technical systems that enable autonomous operation.

These systems have already existed for a while, but they are constantly evolving. The locomotive autonomously pulls all of the train cars. Some improvements on railways are still possible, for example for the detection of damaged cars. This is accomplished by attaching sensors to each car, that are able to detect collisions and potential damage.

River transport

Concerning river transport, the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) is developing the definitions for levels of automation. The roadmap of the CCNR foresees full automation of river transport in the next 15 years. A large number of sensors will monitor vessels, and propulsion is expected to function without human intervention. Vessels can already automatically navigate by following a preprogramed path, but a vessel pilot is still mandatory.

Air transport

Aviation is already highly automated by the use of automatic pilot systems in flight and, take-off and landing assistance systems are also used, but a human pilot and a co-pilot are still required to intervene if necessary and in the difficult phases of flight.

In the aeronautics domain, transport by drones has potential for the delivery of small volumes, for example, medical packages. A uniform European legal framework is being developed to regulate professional operations and the transport of goods using drones. The next steps will include the regulation of complex operations including automation of drones.

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