VeLABi - Test and Management Centre for Autonomous Inland Waterway Vessels


VeLABi - (Versuchs- und Leitungszentrum für autonome Binnenschiffe) - Test and Management Centre for Autonomous Inland Waterway Vessels

Research projects for highly automated driving of inland vessels require realistic simulations in a virtual test field and experiments in a test environment. Field tests can only begin once the control system in the simulations and in a protected test field is functioning reliably. For the simulation environments, in the creation of which machine learning methods are also used, a separate infrastructure was set up in Duisburg, which was supplemented by a control centre for the control of test ships in a real test field. This development environment is the basis for the testing of systems and components (control station, interfaces on board, data transfer protocols, fallback strategies, etc.) for remote-controlled and automated driving. The test and control centre thus forms the basic infrastructure component for all developments in the coming years and is currently unique in Germany.

The simulator is used for research and development of graduated automation functions up to the autonomous inland vessel. For this purpose, a high-tech simulator has been set up, from which simulated developments and demonstrations of the corresponding automation functions are possible. In addition, it will also be possible in future to remotely control inland waterway vessels and, in the case of an autonomous vessel, to implement appropriate monitoring and emergency intervention options using the simulator. In addition to the virtual representation of test areas, further inland waterway traffic in the form of traffic flow simulations is also possible.

An important component of the test and control centre is a 360° circular projection with a replica of a ship bridge in the centre. The entire simulator has a diameter of 8 m and generates a continuous stereoscopic 3D image on the resulting 67 m2 projection surface. In addition to this projection method, VR and AR glasses are also used, which enable direct interaction with the virtual environment.

Project duration:

10 Months (10/2019 – 07/2020)

Project supervisor at the chair of mechatronics:

Project partners:

Participating chairs/ departments at the UDE:

Chair of Mechatronics (Prof. Schramm)

Belongs to the profile focus of the Faculty of Engineering at the UDE:

Link to the faculty (profile focus):