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Developing Autonomous Transport System (BFftF)

Why is autonomous mobility an important development and therefore relevant for companies and students?

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to dramatically change the way people live, work and travel in cities. Driving of CAVs will be fully automated in their most advanced stage, making driver engagement with driving tasks obsolete. Nissan, Volvo and other incumbent vehicle manufacturers hope to have commercially-viable automated-driving capabilities in multiple car models in the very near future. New entrants to the motor industry – Google, Apple and Uber – also aim to develop a fully automated vehicle along a similar timeline. Such timelines have contributed to a race to vehicle automation.

While the technological development of autonomous vehicles is challenging in itself, CAVs also have the potential to disrupt current practices of mobility, including the spatial layout of cities; the discipline and control of vehicle occupants; the generation of public revenues through vehicle taxation; the livelihoods of currently employed drivers; and the viability of other modes of transport. These challenges are not limited to the automotive and transport industry, they will influence whole society.

In the coming years there is a need for professionals who can oversee the technological, economic and social development (business case and value case) of autonomous vehicles in order to translate the possibilities into usable applications in practice.

Minor Outline

The minor explores all the relevant areas of expertise in order to become an expert in this field. To take autonomous transport to a higher level a combination of areas of expertise is required:

  • Data Science / Artificial Intelligence/Autonomous decision making
  • Business cases
  • Process (re)design
  • Organisational requirements
  • Sensoring, communication technologies and ICT-integration

Therefore the course will be composed of guest lectures by specialists from this industry for the required  practical insights and lectures by teachers focusing on required knowledge from the field of data science / AI, business cases, process design and technology.

You will work on a project assignment contributing to the realization an autonomous vehicle built by student or developing an application of autonomous transport in one of the following domains:

  • Tourism: Practical: many tourists drive their own cars to attractions and sights. This requires large parking lots and often leads to congestion around opening and closing times. Autonomous vehicles can be used to set up new mobility concepts whereby a smaller number of vehicles will bring and collect tourists, or private autonomous vehicles can be parked remotely and spread out more widely in the area.
  • Health Care: Due to the major changes in care, many elderly people are now indeed living at home longer than before. People used to go to a care home earlier. But, their quality of life has not really improved as a result, their self-reliance has not increased, and neither has their participation in society. Living at home longer does not mean: enjoying your surroundings, taking care of yourself, participating in all kinds of fun activities in the neighborhood. Living at home longer means waiting longer for home help and home care, which only have a few minutes a day for you. Living at home longer means sitting lonely in front of the window.
  • Logistics: Autonomous vehicles can be applied in warehouses, on terminals, in cities and on highways and on public roads. The projects focus on challenges on the planning of autonomous fleets, take over of driver activities by other systems, business cases and operational integration of vehicles and safety issues in mixed traffic situations on terminals and on public roads.
  • Public Transport/Mobility; driver is an important factor in public transport. With an autonomous chance of a more intricate and more demand-dependent mobility system. Autonomous mobility services and solutions can operate in heavy rain, snow or fog. Until now many of the technologies are being developed to suit warmer climates. Autonomous vehicles without a driver can become mainstream when capable of operating in all climates.

Stakeholders to be involved in minor:

  • Automotive industry (VDL, Terberg)
  • Core technology providers (AI in Motion, Softride)
  • Terminal integration partners (Solid Port Solutions)
  • Government / Road Authorities (Rijkswaterstaat, North Sea Port, Province Zeeland)
  • Logistics service providers (Van Keulen, Kloosterboer, MSP, Verbrugge, Mepavex, OCT)
  • Communication service providers (KPN, T-Mobile)


The lecture program consists of 1 block of 10 weeks of lectures / guest speakers and workshops. The themes are: Technology, Innovation Eco-system, Applications, and Social Impacts. Lectures take place from Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 12.00 hours.

The remaining time (afternoon and Friday in the first block and Monday to Friday all day  in the second block of 10 week). Students work together on a project that runs the whole period. At least 1 project is offered on technical aspects and on an application (tourism, healthcare or logistics, public transport/mobility) so that both technical and non-technical students can follow this minor.


Students work on one project (professional product) for the whole semester. This project will be tested by a project report and an assessment that contains a presentation with defense. Examination is according to the specifications in the rules and regulations table, taken from the Implementation Regulations of BFftF which is the host program of this minor.