The project “Autonomous inland vessel” has already started as a joint project in October 2019. Participants are the Development Center for Ship Technology and Transport Systems e.V. (DST), the Chair of Mechatronics (IMECH) and the Chair of Control, Regulation and System Dynamics (SRS) of the University of Duisburg-Essen. On 10.12.2020, the first milestone of this project has now been reached. The first of a total of two workshops took place on this date with a total of 36 internationally invited participants. Due to the current pandemic situation, the workshop was conducted online. All project partners presented the basic ideas and concepts of the project in exciting presentations followed by discussions. The workshop was open to the public and could therefore be attended by interested parties.
In a highly developed economy like Germany, a correspondingly efficient transport and traffic system is of enormous importance. In North Rhine-Westphalia in particular, inland navigation plays a key role in the transport system. In the “Autonomous Inland Barge” project, AutoBin for short, an inland barge is therefore to be automated. A ship (Niedersachsen 22) provided by the associated partner HGK Shipping GmbH will be equipped with appropriate sensors and actuators for this purpose. At the end of the 36-month project period, the control system will be tested and demonstrated in a test field on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. The entire joint project is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The concepts presented in the workshop will first be tested in a simulation environment in the further course of the project. For this purpose, the section of the test field will be recreated in a game engine. In this way, risky maneuvers and exceptional situations can be reproducibly tested without the associated risk. For visualization and interaction with the simulation environment, it is possible to use the existing infrastructure from the “Versuchs und Leitungszentrum Autonome Binnenschiffe” (VeLABi) at the DST.