Joint project SAFEBin


Methods for the safe design of automation and remote monitoring in inland shipping.


Key Info

Basic Information

01.11.2022 to 31.01.2025


Modern inland shipping represents an important alternative to road and rail transportation. It can significantly contribute to relieving traffic congestion and reducing the environmental impact of the transport sector. However, the industry is currently facing a shortage of skilled professionals, negatively affecting competitiveness and usable transport capacities. Research is currently being conducted on systems for (semi-)automated inland vessels to increase the attractiveness, utilization, and safety of inland shipping. However, the introduction of autonomous inland vessels comes with its own set of challenges. In addition to the necessary technical developments, there are significant questions regarding the legal framework for approving such assistance and automation systems.
To enable the deployment of autonomous inland vessels and define the legal aspects, these systems must be evaluated in terms of safety. This involves analyzing past accidents and critical maneuvers, as well as current regulations and vessel control concepts.
Based on these findings, the project aims to define requirements for automation systems and propose legal frameworks to enable safe autonomous operations of inland ships in the future.


Project Goals and Methods

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics Affairs and Climate Action

The IRT subproject "Evaluation of Software and Dynamic Processes," in the context of the SAFEBin project, aims to develop a system for automated risk assessment of semi and highly-automated vessels. This risk assessment system is intended to independently verify the correct functioning of the automation system. For this purpose, the risk assessment system needs to consider the traffic situation, sensor uncertainties, weather conditions, and dynamic characteristics of the ship to provide an easily interpretable metric for the current degree of risk of the own vessel. This metric can be used to determine the point at which the vessel's steering needs to be handed back to the ship operator or when the ship needs to be stopped. Furthermore, in the future, the risk assessment can be linked to the automation system. This could allow for adaptive control objectives, depending on the risk situation, like focusing on efficient driving in low-risk situations and prioritizing obstacle avoidance in riskier situations.


Innovations and Perspectives

The SAFEBin research project enables a unified analysis of the current safety level of inland navigation. This analysis serves as a basis for formulating recommendations for future legal frameworks and technical requirements for safe autonomous inland vessels. Furthermore, the continuously operating risk assessment system developed at IRT lays the foundation for standardized validation of autonomy functions.

Project partner Associated partner


Similar Topics