Centrally controlled robot vehicles to ensure urban mobility

October 14, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Centrally controlled robot vehicles to ensure urban mobility
With an unusual concept, the engineering company EDAG (Arbon, Switzerland) wants to push ahead with the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles: all movements of the vehicle fleet are to be centrally coordinated and controlled. Advantages according to EDAG: Avoidance of traffic jams and demand-oriented control of all traffic.

At its in-house exhibition Tech Summit later this month, engineering services provider EDAG will introduce a further development of its "CityBot" mobility concept, which was originally presented at the IAA 2019. The robot vehicle, which is controlled with AI algorithms, represents various innovations from the fields of autonomous driving, robotics and trajectory planning. As a variable platform solution, the CityBot family is intended to enable numerous application variants in the field of urban mobility. The focus is not only on passenger transport, but also on autonomous work assignments, for example in the field of waste disposal or intralogistics, by means of various application-specific modules. For the CityBot concept to work, it is important that the vehicles travel in a defined spatial area that is closed to manually controlled cars, for example in company campuses, at airports or in city centres.

The vehicles find their way around in this area by means of lidar sensors. For near-field detection, these are supplemented with ultrasonic sensors. The signals from these sensors are then linked to each other using a fusion engine developed in-house. The result is a digital, overlapping 360° image of the real environmental situation. In addition, the merged environmental data are compared with the position data received via GNSS and existing digital maps. From this information, the CityBots calculate their respective trajectories using a software-implemented Vehicle Control Unit (VCU). This trajectory planning goes beyond the possibilities of classic navigation systems, as it takes into account the individual route and reacts to dynamic situations with suitable evasive manoeuvres, EDAG advertises. In addition, the CityBot is not designed as a closed island system, but receives further merged data from other bots or stationary sensors of the infrastructure. This means that the EDAG CityBot is also able to look "around the corner". The vehicles are driven by wheel hub motors.

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