Navigating the Future: MODI sets the starting point for highly automated freight vehicles with the reference drive in Hamburg 

Hamburg experienced a milestone reference drive, featuring a productionseries truck outfitted with high-precision measuring devices. The reference drive assessed for the first time the vehicle’s performance under actual conditions in combination with the readiness of the infrastructure for supporting highly automated driving. 

This initiative is a collaborative effort among key players including New Mobility Solutions Hamburg, Gruber Logistics, BASt, Volvo, DAF, and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. 

The Challenge:

The reference drive aims to deeply analyse the current use-case planning. By studying the performance of a standard truck, the partners intend to establish a starting point for progressive improvements. 

Areas of Investigation:

  • Port-road – As Hamburg’s port continues to grow, the challenge is optimizing traffic flow without expanding infrastructure. Hamburg’s smart infrastructure and its availability will be logged during the reference drive.
  • VRU (Vulnerable Road Users) – With active mobility becoming more popular, deconflicting between heavy goods transport and especially cyclists become more important. The reference drive identifies and analyse critical situations with VRUs to prevent them during the project through infrastructure improvements.
  • Motorway transition – The reference drive also highlights the challenges of transition from motorway to urban and port roads, emphasizing the importance of smooth merging methods.
  • Cellular Network – The importance of cellular networks for highly automated driving lies in their role as the communication backbone, enabling real-time data exchange between vehicles and infrastructure. The reference drive measures signal strength, latency, and coverage of mobile networks.
  • Smart infrastructure – V2X-Technology – V2X technology enhances situational awareness, enabling automated vehicles to make informed decisions, navigate complex traffic scenarios, and improve overall safety on the road. The reference drive detects V2X messages and analysis their usability. 

MODI: A leap towards highly automated freight vehicles

The MODI initiative accentuates the value of Cooperative Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) vehicles, highlighting their role in augmenting logistical efficiency and profitability. Addressing the challenges impeding deployment, MODI actively navigates through regulatory and infrastructural constraints within the logistic axis stretching from Rotterdam to Oslo, including a pivotal juncture at Hamburg. 

Culminating the project’s first year and its strategic phase, the focus now shifts to a developmental stage for vehicular and infrastructural technology, with the “Use Case Germany” set to be showcased in 2025.

Insights from Use Case Germany: "it's complicated”

¨ It´s complicated. In Hamburg Germany’s biggest seaport, a complex web of roads and waterways keeps the city alive with a constant influx of goods. Our ‘Use Case Germany’ put this network to the test, with drivers navigating both expansive port arteries and the more restrictive urban streets, where quick thinking and adaptability are essential. We’ve encountered challenges such as pinpointing the correct lane amidst unexpected detours, a common scenario in dynamic urban environments. These areas also test the limits of GNSS and cellular networks—both vital for autonomous navigation. The data we gather is invaluable, it’s the bedrock for refining autonomous positioning as we transition towards fully automated and interconnected mobility.¨

Maximilian Kamp – Project Manager @New Mobility Solutions Hamburg GmbH


Work in progress - stay tuned!

Be sure to stay connected with us to keep up with the latest developments. We’re committed to bringing you the most current information as we progress through this testing phase. As the testing concludes, we’ll be updating this blog with the final results and an array of captivating photos, giving you an immersive glimpse into the journey we’ve undertaken.

Want to meet us at other events? Keep following MODI on LinkedIn and X (Twitter) to keep updated with its next developments.

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