Current Situation

Street sweepers are well-established, especially in urban areas and industrial or special transport sites such as airports. Yet, these vehicles have to be controlled by highly experienced staff, operating over 30 actuators. Also, in basic driving assistance systems, no sensors are implemented, detection of dirt and consideration of traffic is therefore completely the responsibility of the operator. This situation bears enormous potential regarding automation, cleansing efficiency and the increase of safety through reduction of operator error.

Target: Development and validation of an automated street sweeper

The vehicle with a total weight of >7.5t will be based on a standard chassis with drive and cleansing capability fully automated. Suitable hardware and software will be used for navigation and operation of the street sweeper as well as for steering of the sweeping system, which is currently done by over thirty different control units. Integrated sensors will be used to consider the operation environment (traffic, roadside distance, obstacles) and for characterization of the degree of dirt on the street. An end-to-end automotive grade cybersecurity solution will be employed to ensure the vehicle remains safe from malicious attacks and maintain data integrity to ensure safe and accurate operation of the vehicle. This allows for optimized street cleaning performance, cleaning duration, operation time, energy demand in a safe and secure environment.

The vision for the vehicles will be that they are validated in comprehensive test operation at test sites at Lausitzring (Germany), the American Center for Mobility and the University of Michigan.

Target Markets

Cleansing of streets and soils is quite cost-intense using current technology, thus all operators of such vehicles (private and public entities) will be potential clients. Street sweeper fleets are in need of modernization in many areas in both Germany and the US. Thus, the two market segments aimed for in the first three years after successful validation will be municipalities, major industrial sites as well as special transport sites (e.g. airports, harbors, race tracks) in the United States and in Germany.

Project Scope

The scope of work is the joint development of a sweeper demonstrator that drives autonomously and automatically cleans the road space. This technology carrier will be developed, and functionality tested. High-performance sensor, intelligence, machine operation and control solutions developed by the Parties shall be integrated into a standard sweeper and shall enable comprehensive environment recognition and situation-dependent autonomous decision-making in the event of unexpected disruptions and obstacles and shall ensure safe and reliable operation. The sweeper demonstrator shall be equipped with drive-by-wire technology, which enables the technology carrier to perform independent evasive maneuvers, and with suitable technology for allowing autonomous cleaning. In addition, an integrated, high-performance safety system shall prevent unauthorized access to the machine.

Transatlantic Autonomous Driving Alliance (TADA)

The Transatlantic Autonomous Driving Alliance (TADA) targets to create a network that connects US and German companies, organizations and universities/research institutes with each other around the focus of automated, connected and other emerging vehicle technologies. Through collaboration and cooperation the TADA network intends engage mobility communities collaborating through conferences, workshops and projects.

Project Partners

RKW with its brand AMZ Sachsen contributes in the above-mentioned Project as project coordinator as well as regarding various technical issues, including the systematization of the modular workflow, its documentation as well as any support of the development processes within the framework of a knowledge base to be set up in the form of relational databases. Those will be made available to the project partners and optionally also to future target customers. At the same time, AMZ supports all other project partners and related subjects in networking and internationalization by means of various scientific, technical, economic and process management solutions, especially in the area of operator functionality.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the state of Michigan Partner, working in cooperation with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in the above-mentioned Project. Committed to advancing public/private partnerships to solve key transportation and mobility challenges, as Partner MEDC provided a critical grant and will provide consultation support for the Project as agreed in a separate cooperation agreement between RKW and MEDC.

Ann Arbor SPARK has been the economic development engine for Washtenaw County for more than 15 years. Ann Arbor SPARK attracts and supports growing, established businesses to the region and also accelerates the growth of high tech startups through grants and its incubator facilities in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. SPARK is a central point of contact that provides access to the diverse tech ecosystem in Ann Arbor. SPARK and AMZ Sachsen worked closely together to identify the present Project and find the suitable local partner.

FAUN is an owner-managed, medium-sized company. More than 1,800 employees work for FAUN worldwide and it is one of the leading manufacturers of waste disposal vehicles in Europe. FAUN Viatec GmbH develops and manufactures road sweepers in the plant in Grimma (Saxony) and is part of the FAUN Group, which belongs to the KIRCHHOFF Ecotec Group.

New Eagle is a production control system partner who provides support from concept through mass production and fleet management. Their Raptor suite of embedded Model-Based Development (eMBD) tools are designed to help customers take control of development time, cost, risk, and IP. Compatible with MathWorks products, Raptor provides an environment to quickly and seamlessly create customized, embedded controls using OEM level ruggedized hardware.

NAVENTIK is a provider of software-based localization solutions for highly automated and autonomous vehicles. Based on the PATHFINDER GNSS Software Framework, an automotive grade software receiver for dedicated use in the sensor data fusion systems of ADAS, NAVENTIK is able to create tailored solutions for robust, accurate and precise vehicle positioning in all areas.

FusionSystems specializes in multi-sensor data acquisition, data processing and sensor data fusion. Their fields of activity are broadly organized into four business areas – Automotive Software Engineering, Maps & Navigation, Smart Systems and Automation. For the mentioned project FusionSystems focuses on perception in automotive context using classic and artificial intelligence methods, decision making in a traffic context, data acquisition, data collection, data analysis for traffic data, multisensory positioning, path planning, navigation, measurement, control, and regulation technology with classic and fuzzy methods.

American Center for Mobility is a collaborative effort comprised of government, industry and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry through research, testing, standards development, and educational programming. Located in Southeast Michigan on over 500-acres at the historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti, the ACM offers:

  • A smart mobility test center providing a safe platform for the integration, testing and validation of connected and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies.
  • A technology park for the co-location and incubation of mobility companies
  • An event and demonstration facilities for showcasing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies and convening industry activities.