Automated, user orientated transport platform for urban areas (UrbANT)


In order to counteract the increasing traffic load in the inner cities, alternative individual means of mobility become more and more important. These include autonomous delivery systems – mobile robots transporting goods on sidewalks. While people in public spaces usually walk past each other without collision, the question that arises is how we will share the sidewalk with robots in the future. Which conscious and unconscious, verbal and non-verbal cues do people use to ensure collision-free passing on the walkway? Are these social cues expected and retrieved automatically when encountering a robot? Under what circumstances and in what ways are robots abused and how can this be prevented?

  Woman standing at traffic light carrying crate of drinks. Thought bubble visualises a small vehicle carrying that crate of drinks. Copyright: © ika

The aim of the project UrbANT, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research is the development of an urban, automated, user-oriented transport platform. This electrically driven micromobility means makes it possible to transport heavy and bulky goods within the city, reducing the traffic load in the inner cities. The micromobile can navigate autonomously to its destination to cover the "last mile" of supply chains, but also operate in a follow mode to carry heavy purchases for a user.



+49 241 80 25521



The second project phase, which started in May 2019, lasts three years and includes the development, production and testing of the platform. In addition to the technical development of the vehicle and the automation function, human-machine interaction is one of the main research areas of the project. In several field tests and laboratory studies, we will investigate the interaction between robots and different groups of passers-by. Based on explorative observational studies, interaction-based strategies to avoid collisions and attacks on the delivery robot are developed and experimentally investigated.

The interdisciplinary consortium of UrbANT consists of partners from the social and engineering sciences as well as numerous industrial partners: In addition to the Institute for Automotive Engineering Aachen, the Institute for Management Cybernetics, the German Institute of Textile and Fiber Research, and the Federal Highway Research Institute, Ford, neomesh, BE Power, easy2cool and the Innovationsmanufaktur are involved in the development of the platform.