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Autonomous transport

Autonomous (package) transport Bourtange fortress

The province of Groningen will start a pilot in 2021 to do tests in the field of autonomous (package) transport at the Bourtange fortress. Bourtange is an old fortified village in the province of Groningen. The fortress consists of small streets and bridges and is popular among tourists. Since the fortress is so beautifully demarcated, it's a good location to investigate a number of challenges regarding autonomous (parcel) transport. Autonomous transport involves a vehicle traveling without a driver.

Luchtfoto Bourtange.

Challenges

A number of questions are central in this project. Can autonomous transport play a role in increasing the quality of life in the fortress, by reducing the number of traffic movements of parcel carriers? And can the combination of parcel transport with passenger transport (for example tourists who have difficulty walking) contribute to good business cases for the actual implementation of autonomous transport? It’s also interesting to see how an autonomous vehicle behaves on the cobblestones and narrow bridges.

First and second stage

The first phase of the pilot only pertains to parcel delivery. The parcels will be delivered at the information center of Bourtange, after which they will be brought to the center of the fortress with an autonomous parcel robot and then delivered to the residents’ home addresses. Phase two will involve a larger autonomous vehicle, with the intention of transporting both packages and people from the information center into the fortress.