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Efficient and safe connected and automated heavy-duty vehicles in real logistics operations


The focus of this topic is to develop, test and demonstrate connected and automated systems for heavy commercial vehicles in real logistics operations.

Proposed actions should include all the following aspects:

  • Identify logistics operational needs and analyse new, emerging business and operating models and related technologies for efficient, high capacity and safe connected and automated heavy commercial vehicles (preferably low-emission vehicles) and optimised links with other parts in the logistics chain.
  • Develop, design, test and validate enhanced connected and automated vehicle technologies for heavy commercial vehicles for improved perception and localisation, vehicle control, connectivity (vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-cloud and vehicle-infrastructure), system resilience and dependability, functional safety, cyber security, interoperability and system cost optimization, reduced emissions and fuel consumption at fleet level.
  • Test and demonstrate innovative, efficient and safe connected and automated heavy commercial vehicles for real logistics operations on hub-to-hub corridors, on open roads in mixed traffic or in confined areas addressing mixed traffic capabilities to prepare for operation in real road conditions..
  • Enhanced interaction between connected and automated heavy commercial vehicles and their users and other (vulnerable) road users. Innovative services for automated freight logistics of individual transport units.

A cost-benefit analysis will demonstrate the added value and economic viability of automated systems in real logistics operations for users and stakeholders.

The active involvement of shippers, freight forwarders and truck manufacturers is strongly encouraged. The cooperation with organisations linked to actions of the TEN-T network is encouraged.

In line with the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation, international cooperation is encouraged. In particular, proposals should foresee cooperation with projects or partners from the US, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and/or Australia. Proposals should foresee twinning with entities participating in projects funded by US DOT to exchange knowledge and experience and exploit synergies. Twinning with Japan is also encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 15 and 20 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Connected and automated driving systems for heavy commercial vehicles have great potential to bring a disruptive change to the trucking industry, fleet operators and the whole logistics sector. They can improve safety and efficiency of freight transport and make vehicle operations more comfortable. Fuel efficiency gains can be achieved through automated truck operations, such as platooning. Various automated trucks and truck platooning concepts are being tested in several countries. Positive impacts can be expected when highly automated systems will be used in logistics operations going from hub to hub including both operations in mixed traffic and in confined areas.

There are a number of specific challenges that need to be addressed before connected, cooperative and automated driving technologies for heavy commercial vehicles can be widely deployed: vehicle technologies, driver/user interaction/collaboration, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, operational challenges in confined areas (ports, logistics terminals, consolidation centres, truck parkings, etc.) and in mixed traffic on public roads.

Actions are expected to contribute to the accelerated deployment of innovative connected and automated freight transport solutions in Europe. Actions will show that they will help to increase the overall safety and efficiency of freight operations of individual trucks or fleets (emissions/freight ratio, fuel consumption, road occupancy, vehicle utilization, capacity of transport network) in confined areas and in mixed traffic (hub to hub) through innovative connected and automated driving systems. Actions will show the uptake of new business models and seek to reach a total cost reduction of operations and logistics and supply chain leading to improved competitiveness of the European transport and logistics industry.