AUTOBarge Network-wide event 3: Delft and Rotterdam, The Netherlands

From 28 until 31 March 2023, the third AUTOBarge network-wide event was successfully held at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) campus and VNAB knowledge and meeting centre, Rotterdam. The event brought together researchers, professionals, and stakeholders to discuss the progress, challenges, and opportunities in smart and autonomous inland shipping. The four-day event had a comprehensive program that included training sessions, presentations, discussions, and social activities.

Picture: The AUTOBarge consortium members and ESRs at the ECHO Building on the TU Delft campus.

The first and last days of the event were dedicated to the training of the AUTOBarge early stage researchers (ESRs) on various technical and soft skills aspects. On the first day, Dr. Vasso Reppa welcomed the ESRs and introduced them to the TU Delft. Thereafter, the ESRs received trainings on topics such as safety aspects in automated transport, presenting research through storytelling and overcoming research block. The ESR council was also held, where the researchers discussed their views on various issues and exchanged ideas.

Picture: Dr. Vasso Reppa welcoming the ESRs to TU Delft on Day 1 of the network-wide event.

On the second day of the event, the consortium members held meetings at the Echo building on the TU Delft campus. The Project coordinator Prof. dr. Davy Pissoort presented an agenda for the event. The members discussed the progress of the project, collaboration possibilities, and future steps. Further, the ESRs presented their work in their respective work packages, which provided a platform for sharing ideas and receiving feedback. The members also visited the Researchlab Autonomous Shipping (RAS) in the Maritime and Transport Technology (MTT) Department, where some demonstrations were held using the scale vessel models developed in-house by TU Delft researchers. The day ended with a fun-filled evening of bowling and dinner at a nearby location.

Picture: Panel Discussion at the AUTOBarge IVR Event in Rotterdam.

On the third day of the event, the AUTOBarge stakeholder interviewing and co-thinking session took place at the VNAB knowledge and meeting centre, organised with the support of IVR. The centre provided a great location with views of barges navigating in the Rotterdam’s canals close by. The ESRs presented their work to inland companies that are part of the IVR stakeholder network as well as other experts that joined the event. The presentations were followed by a poster session, where the ESRs got an opportunity to showcase their work in detail. Companies such as Shipping Technology and COVADEM also provided an overview of their products and services that they provide to inland vessel owners. There was also a presentation by an expert from the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) on their recent efforts towards regulating automated inland navigation. The event highlighted the importance of collaboration and interdisciplinary research for realising the goal of smart inland shipping.

Picture: Discussions after the presentation by COVADEM.

On the last day, the ESR training was focused on topics such as advanced control techniques, coordinated transport and logistics, and writing impactful review articles.

Picture: Professor Bart van Wee lecturing on “How to write a review paper”.

The event was a great success and was well received by the AUTOBarge consortium members as well the interested industrial and academic players. The consortium is now looking forward to the next network-wide event in Norway in October 2023.

Picture: AUTOBarge Consortium members and stakeholders at the AUTOBarge event in Rotterdam.

An article by Abhishek Dhyani.


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