Semi-autonomous barges to cut traffic congestion in Dutch city
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
Credit: Getty Images

Dell EMC and Nokia have become lead technology partners in a public-private smart city initiative to help the Dutch City of Delft reduce truck congestion in its centre using semi-autonomous, hydrogen-powered barges in existing waterways for ‘last mile’ transportation.

Dell EMC and Nokia, in conjunction with Blue Turtle Associates, Aratos Systems, Circle Lines, City Hub, SPIE, the University of Delft and the Provence of South Holland regional government, have engaged in a trial to create a Common Information Space for Smart City Logistics. This will act as a scalable digital platform connecting the entire logistics chain in and around the city as well as a backbone for the navigation guidance system. This platform will be built using 'world-class' technologies from Dell EMC and Nokia for computation, storage, data management, connectivity, analytics, IoT and blockchain, and the intention is for the underlying connectivity to be 5G-based.

Many areas in Holland have fine-meshed waterways, canals, or water storage areas that are now heavily underused. With the development of quiet and clean semi-autonomous barges, goods normally carried by trucks can be transported in the city’s waterways.

For the project, an automated and digitised hydrogen-powered river barge will be connected and controlled by a new type of mobility cloud using Nokia’s IMPACT IoT platform and Dell EMC Digital City Accelerator Platform, complemented by hydraulic gangway technology from Ampelmann for on-shore loading and unloading. Testing will progress through 2019 with goal of becoming fully operational by the end of the year.

“The power of this project is the collaboration. Working together with a team of brilliant young engineers, government partners and business professionals can really make the difference in achieving sustainability goals. As a team, we’re redesigning not only the river barge but the entire process of city logistics. We are proud to be part of this initiative that was made possible by the Provence of South Holland, [which] provided the seed funding,” said Peter de Bruijn, managing director of Blue Turtle Associates.

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