In the frame of Urbane, Horizon Europe Project, the research center and the municipality will collaborate to advance in the integration of zero emission vehicles and intelligent transport solutions for advanced last mile delivery solutions. The project has started on September 2022, and will last for 42 months. In this time, smart urban electric vehicles, vans and bikes, will be used to develop advanced last mile solutions based on connectivity solutions, protection of vulnerable road users and energy harvesting through photovoltaic panels integrated in the vehicles.

In relation to connectivity, the vehicles will be able to “talk” with all the elements around to reduce their carbon footprint, V2X. In the case of vehicle to vehicle communication, V2V, the vehicles of the fleet will inform each other about the load capacity available and the final destination, to optimize the number of vehicles moving to the different zones of the city, In the case of vehicle to infrastructure, V2I, the traffic lights will inform the vehicles about the time to green or to red, and the vehicles will be able to optimize their speed in order to minimize the electricity consumption. In the case of vehicle to customer, V2C, the vehicle will inform the customer about the parcel delivery, and if the customer accepts it will be possible to remotely open the trunk of his/her vehicle to deliver the parcel.

In relation to vulnerable road users protection, it is a fact that electric vehicles are less noisy and then more dangerous for vulnerable road users, mainly taking into account that last mile logistics may be concentrated in center areas of the cities. For this reason, the vehicles used in the project are equipped with artificial intelligence that allows the detection and recognition of vulnerable road users, advising the driver or automatically braking the vehicle in the case of risky situations.

Energy harvesting will be made thanks to the installation of advanced photovoltaics cells in the surface of the vehicles, laboratory tests, made previously to the project, have demonstrated that in the case of the van, and under ideal conditions, 25 km of totally free emissions can be run. One of the aims of the project is to demonstrate the performance in real traffic conditions.

The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon Europe Programme under grant agreement nº 101069782.