The purpose of the four-year URBANE project is to test various last-mile solutions in cities in order to reduce traffic congestion and emissions caused by urban logistics distribution. The project will test and develop new solutions, such as autonomous distribution platforms, and seek commercially viable operating models for last-mile challenges.
The URBANE project will pilot new solutions in Helsinki, Thessaloniki (GR), Valladolid (ES), Bologna (IT), Karlsruhe (DE) and Barcelona (ES). The pilot projects in Helsinki will be carried out by the shipping and logistics company group DB Schenker; LMAD, which develops autonomous distribution platforms; and SOBEN (TwinswHeel), which develops autonomous solutions, in cooperation with Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki.
The pilots to be carried out in Helsinki under the URBANE project are based on work completed in previous projects such as Last Mile Autonomous Delivery (LMAD); a robot intended for use in urban logistics was built based on the GIM Robotics of LMAD and successfully tested on the Baana bicycle path and the Jätkäsaari area in Helsinki in cooperation with DB Schenker. URBANE will identify and test new applications in which new solutions could facilitate last-mile logistics in densely populated city districts and, by doing so, reduce heavy vehicle traffic.
Duration, funding, partners
Duration: 1 September 2022 – 28 February 2026
The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation funding programme. There are 41 partners involved in the project, and its total budget for the four-year period is approximately 11 million euro. Forum Virium Helsinki’s involvement in the project will span the first two years of the project, and its share of the project’s total budget is 96,250€.
The project is coordinated by Inlecom Innovations (GR). Other Finnish partners involved in the project besides Forum Virum Helsinki include the City of Helsinki, LMAD and DB Schenker.
The role of Forum Virium Helsinki
Forum Virium’s role is to support the pilot projects to be carried out in Helsinki: identifying new applications, pilot sites and partners for autonomous delivery robots and providing the consortium with an understanding of the potential of autonomous vehicles and the challenges they face in Helsinki. Forum Virium will cooperate with the project consortium with regard to research collaboration and data collection, in addition to which it will participate in the development of the innovation platform to be built in the project.
Benefits for Helsinki
The pilot projects to be carried out in Helsinki will provide information on such things as the opportunities offered and challenges faced by cargo bikes and autonomous delivery robots with regard to the last mile. The URBANE project will identify and test new ways to reduce emissions and traffic congestion in the city by making use of new solutions. Additionally, it will provide a better understanding of what the use of autonomous robots in the urban space means from the perspective of residents and the city.
Video of a prior pilot project:
Article photo: Vesa Laitinen, Forum Virium Helsinki