Under the name 5G Blueprint, a three-year international research project is investigating how teleoperation can be used to make transport and logistics more efficient – including across borders. The Port of Antwerp and North Sea Port are taking part in the project.

A public-private partnership made up of members from the Netherlands, Flanders, Switzerland and the Czech Republic has been granted a subsidy of €10 million by the European Union for this purpose.

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, together with the Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works, the port authorities North Sea Port and Port of Antwerp, the business community and the academic sector, has set up a consortium with 28 members. Together they are investigating how transport and logistics can be made more efficient with the aid of remote control (tele-operation) technology – including across borders.

The 5G Blueprint project is one of eleven new Horizon 2020 projects under the European 5G Public-Private Partnership (5G-PPP) that will commence in September 2020 and run for three years. The objective will be to seize opportunities in 5G hardware innovation and to validate 5G ecosystems for connected and automated mobility (CAM) along three new European cross-border corridors.

Teleoperation of vessels and vehicles

The parties involved are investigating how exchanging real-time data to and from vehicles, between terminals and vehicles and between vehicles and their head offices can contribute to greater efficiency in the supply chain and help mitigate driver shortages.

The aim is to be able to remotely steer and support vehicles and vessels. This is expected to not only improve the accessibility of the important North Sea Port — Vlissingen, Terneuzen and Ghent — to Antwerp logistics corridor but also to increase employment and strengthen the competitive position of that area.

New 5G telecommunications technology will be one of the tools used.

5G Blueprint

The 5G Blueprint project will investigate digital technologies and telecommunications possibilities.

The project will also look at safety, costs and benefits, division of responsibilities, collaboration and standardisation. The insights and lessons from this three-year project will be applied directly in this region where possible.

The project’s outcome will also be used as the blueprint for subsequent operational pan-European deployment of teleoperated transport solutions in the logistics sector and beyond.

Collaboration

The 5G Blueprint project is an extension of the collaboration between the Netherlands and Flanders, according to the North Sea Port.

A great deal of knowledge and experience is already being exchanged within existing programmes around intelligent traffic lights — Talking Traffic and Mobilidata. The management and development of standards are also being taken forwards jointly.

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