AUtomated NAVigation in WALLonia
Objective of the project
The NavAuWall project is committed to increasing the degree of automation on board inland watercraft with the aim of increasing their autonomy from level 2 to level 3. The objective of this ambitious project is to encourage the modal transition, particularly within the construction and waste management sectors, while enhancing the competitiveness of shipping along the Walloon backbone for more substantial freight volumes. This improvement in the degree of automation of vessels will allow an operator located at the shore control center to supervise between 3 and 6 vessels simultaneously, a significant improvement over the current situation which only allows the supervision of 1 to 2 vessels.
The NavAuWall project does not aim to establish total autonomy for ships, but rather to promote more sophisticated navigation, while maintaining the presence of a deckhand on board, in recognition of the importance of this human component in the processes.
It should also be noted that the European Member States adopted a resolution calling on the CCNR (Commission Centrale pour la Navigation du Rhin) to promote sustainable development through the automation of inland navigation. However, autonomous navigation faces two major R&D challenges preventing its development:
- Challenge 1: the ability to detect and avoid objects autonomously, day or night, on a section of canal, for example.
- Challenge 2: a reliable communication system allowing remote operation (surveillance, driving, rescue intervention) over the entire route, including in critical areas (bridges, locks, etc.) where the reliability of the communication channel must be important given the precise operation (or avoidance of specific “obstacles” such as quay edges, bridge pylons, etc.) necessary at these locations.
The objective of NavAuWall, in responding to these two technological challenges, is to:
- Develop a level 3 autonomous barge, increasing the efficiency and profitability of river logistics.
- Commercialize autonomous barges (expertise, especially in e-shipment, processing, and manufacturing) and operating services (transport of goods by inland waterways).
The NavAuWall project was certified by the Walloon Government at the end of the Pole Logistics in Wallonia Call for Projects N°34.
Contribution of Multitel
A reliable network and communication system to support the teleoperation of the barge from the remote-control center. This WP will deliver a communication module to be integrated into the barge as well as a local radio reinforcement infrastructure based on the recommendations of the 3GPP for a V2I channel but characterized in the specific conditions of river navigation. To ensure good resilience, the deliverable will successively leverage the following alternatives: 4G/LTE private to ensure a deployment compatible with current communication networks and a 5G-URLLC approach to be ready to be compatible with foreseeable evolutions of future telecommunications networks.
- Sustainable logistics and mobility : Solutions aimed at making logistics and mobility more environmentally friendly, reducing GHG emissions from logistics activities or mobility, and improving the environment or working conditions of those involved in these activities.
- Intelligent and Efficient Transportation : Solutions that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of current and futures modes of transportation.
- Intelligent transport infrastructure and systems : Solutions that enable optimal use and availability of physical infrastructure supporting logistics and mobility.
- Efficient logistics and production processes : Solutions that optimize the logistics performance of a set of actors or an organization along the entire value chain. The activities carried out in this project will rehabilitate, in a cost-effective manner, the use of waterways for planned, regular and recurring trips.