Research Line of Smart Cities

Smart Mobility: Moving People and Goods

Rethinking urban transport

The aim of the Smart Mobility research theme is to develop mobility and logistics solutions that are safe, clean and affordable for all, and that minimize the use of scarce urban space.

Scientific challenges

Before we have implemented inherently safe and clean mobility solutions that create a livable and safe urban environment free from congestion, a myriad of questions has to be answered. How do we facilitate the basic human need for mobility in packed city streets? How can we match all data collected by cars, traffic camera’s and other sensors to enable safe autonomous driving? How do we get people out of their cars and on their bikes? What is a smart way of introducing shared e-bikes in a city? How can vehicle technology lead to decluttering of the city by making traffic signs and other road side equipment obsolete? Can we think of smarter ways to deliver the increasing load of packages into the houses than by blocking the street with vans of seven different courier services? In what way can connected technology be used to create a new ‘Internet-of-vehicles’, that enables concepts like mobility as a service?

Coherent research area

Since 2011, Smart Mobility is one of the three strategic research areas of the Eindhoven University of Technology. The area combines the expertise of six departments on technological issues like automotive technology, clean combustion and embedded systems, with solid knowhow in the areas of logistics, human performance management and urban planning. Currently, almost 250 TU/e researchers are working on these topics. Besides researchers, also students are heavily involved in smart mobility innovations. Student teams develop drones, sustainable fuels for mobility purposes, electric autonomous racing cars, solar cars, and cars made entirely out of bio-composites. Their efforts have led to start-ups like Lightyear and Amber Mobility.

Gateway to large consortia

TU/e is involved in large national and international consortia such as the Dinalog Campus in Breda, Automotive Campus in Helmond, AutomotiveNL, Connekt-ITS Nederland, Dutch Integrated Testsite for Cooperative Mobility (DITCM), European Supply Chain Forum and Green Car Initiative. The university also works closely together with partners like TomTom, NXP, DAF, VDL, Corus, NedCar, TNT, DTI, Bosch Transmissions, TNO, Unilever and the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment. 

Currently, up to forty percent of the urban space is used for mobility. We need smart solutions to drastically reduce this number and enable cities to serve their original purposes again: cities should first and foremost be places where people live, work, recreate and meet each other. This is the motivation behind the Smart Mobility research theme.

Thought leader Carlo van de Weijer

Project i-CAVE

Adding brains to a car

In the i-CAVE program, a system is researched and designed that consists of dual mode vehicles which can be driven automatically and manually to allow maximum flexibility. The program integrates technological road maps for automated and cooperative driving, accelerating the development of novel transportation systems addressing today’s and future mobility demands. Besides these enabling technologies, focus is put on fault tolerance and fail safety, wireless communications, human factors and others addressing transition of control between manual and automated driving and response of other road users.

i-CAVE tackles the main challenges of automated driving, i.e., achieving high levels of safety and reliability through rigorous technological design, combined with seamless integration between automated and manual driving to obtain maximum flexibility and user acceptance.

A living lab is used for the integration and evaluation of accurate vision-based mapping and localization techniques, distributed cooperative vehicle control algorithms and fleet management methods. In addition this approach allows for a close-to-market transport system, which can be commercialized by the transport industry, by applying the results in their road maps.

This theme combines the development of new technology to enable sustainable and inherently safe vehicles, with solutions how to implement necessary process changes in logistics and mobility on an operational, tactical and strategic level. To give a practical example: If we will all be driving solar cars in the future, we need alternatives for parking garages. After all, a solar car needs to have access to the sun.

Program manager Luuk Veelenturf

Are you looking forward to have a sustainable city, mobility and living environment? Let’s understand citizens’ decision-making process first to administer the sustainable environment along with their needs!

Program manager Soora Rasouli

Project CARGO hitching

Transporting packages in the local bus or metro

What if we would use the overcapacity of public transport during off-peak hours for freight transport? That question triggered the start of the successful CARGO hitching project. Effective integration of freight and parcel transport is not new: in long-distance transport such as passenger planes and ferries, fairly often freight is carried alongside people. But for shorter distances, this idea was still rather new.

Combining passenger and freight flows creates attractive business opportunities, because the same transportation needs can be met with fewer vehicles and drivers. It can help to keep socially desirable transport options economically viable in rural areas with declining populations, reduces congestion and air pollution and facilitates the introduction of electric vehicles in urban areas.

The researchers analyzed and quantified potential and necessary conditions, tools and methods for successfully integrated passenger and freight networks. The project resulted in a design of integrated passenger and freight transportation networks and the related coordination, planning and scheduling policies for efficient and reliable delivery of both passengers and small to medium-sized freight volumes.