In an industrial area near HAN University, a very successful test of a remote-controlled passenger car, a Toyota CHR, took place in the week prior to the Mobile World Congress. This test was part of the European 5G -Blueprint project in which the Dutch V-Tron (based in the city of Deventer) is also involved.
ITchannelPRO, media partner of NLMWC in Barcelona sat down with Rakshith Kusumakar Chief Technology Officer of V-Tron.
“Thanks to the excellent cooperation with – among others – the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, within two years of the start of the 5G Blueprint project we are already able to have a car drive remotely in a safe environment” is how Kusumakar – who left India for the Netherlands seven years ago to study at the HAN – begins his enthusiastic insight into the course of the 5G Blueprint project.
“The international research project ‘5G-Blueprint’ is a public-private partnership of parties from the Netherlands, Flanders, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Together, the 5G-Blueprint project investigates how transport and logistics can be made more efficient – also cross-borders – with the help of teleoperation technology. We started this project in 2020 and the successful test with the teleoperated Toyota can safely be called one of the milestones”.
In addition to V-Tron and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, other participating partners are Martel Innovate, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Sentors, Economische Impuls Zeeland, Locatienet, Swarco Nederland, KPN, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Telenet, imec, Be-Mobile, Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works, Room40, Port of Antwerp, Nxtport, Eurofiber, Kloosterboer, More Work Less Carbon, RoboAuto, Seafar, Verbrugge International, Toyota Motor Europe, Transport Roosens, and North Sea Port.
Over a period of 3 years, the 28 parties involved are to investigate how real-time data exchange to and from vehicles, between terminals and vehicles (like the Toyota in our test) and between vehicles and power stations can contribute to greater efficiency in the supply chain, and help overcome driver shortages, by remotely steering and supporting vehicles and vessels.
This is expected not only to improve the accessibility of the important logistics corridor North Sea Port (Vlissingen – Terneuzen – Ghent) – Antwerp, but also to strengthen its competitive position. For this, the deployment of new 5G telecommunications technology is a valuable tool.
“Our mission is as Dr. Johann Márquez-barja, the 5G-Blueprint Technical Coordinator puts it: to generate a set of blueprints, a roadmap, on enabling teleoperation by relying on 5G connectivity within the transport and logistic context. The lesson learned during the project execution will be translated into different documents that will recommend the best suitable technical solutions, business models, and regulations. We will deliver such blueprints to facilitate the uptake of teleoperation in the European and global context and influence different international stakeholders to invest and promote teleoperation in their business and operational roadmaps.”
“The big challenge” continues Kusumakar “in addition to the many technical hurdles, is the legal hurdles. For example, in most countries it is still forbidden to run vehicles unmanned. We also have to deal with operators who stop at national borders. Of course, that complicates matters. Perhaps this will be addressed during this year’s MWC Barcelona. But there are solutions to this as well, in the coming year we will undoubtedly conduct further successful tests as well. I am convinced of that”.
Interested in learning more about future test results? Make sure to keep an eye on the project website, www.5gblueprint.eu , since these tests will include extending the projects teleoperation solutions to other vehicles such as the project truck, and testing in more realistic and challenging environments at the three different project pilot sites in Belgium and The Netherlands.