One for all: AEOLIX connects the freight and logistics community

The EU research project AEOLIX is being tested in 12 Living Labs across Europe.

The EU project AEOLIX was completed successfully – with stunning results. The pan-European platform provides a lot of useful services for the supply chain. Security features and control mechanisms ensure that providers and users can collaborate within a protected environment.

A platform that supports all logistics actors, helping them to search for and interact with the other players – this is roughly how the aim of the EU research project AEOLIX could be described. The project partners focussed on three key challenges: the provision of a secure communication channel for the exchange of data between the existing systems and the software services (Connectivity Engine), the creation of a dashboard as well as application interfaces (tool kit) for the AEOLIX platform users.

Florian Krietsch, Senior Project Manager Logistics Research, PTV, who is managing the AEOLIX project on the PTV side.

“The PTV Group was responsible for the work package on governance, i.e. the management and allocation of rights, and for the work package dealing with various services for the platform. In this context, we provided applications and services for route planning, geocoding and arrival time calculation. Together with Jan de Rijk Logistics, we also managed one of the 12 Living Labs, where AEOLIX was tested under real-life conditions,” says Florian Krietsch, Senior Project Manager Logistics Research, who is managing the project on the PTV side.

“Security is paramount.”

Krietsch is convinced that the security and trustworthiness, that the platform offers its users, are decisive for the project’s success. “You can explain in detail why supply chain efficiency is always based on data and information. But if the users are not sure whether the exchange platform is safe enough, you won’t get anyone to upload data or share it with others.”

The communication platform developed by the project partners offers the required level of protection so that data can be exchanged between systems and software services easily and securely. There are several control mechanisms concerning data protection, authentication and security for users who want to join the community and use the system. Once all checks have been successfully passed, the various logistics players are connected on a tactical and strategic level. The data can flow in real-time, which significantly improves operational planning. This includes data on supply and demand used for transport planning or data required for transport operations, such as vehicle positions or estimated time of arrival.

The collaborative IT infrastructure enhances supply chain transparency. It also enables both data owners and users to share information easily and effectively. Not only transport companies or port authorities belong to the community, but also many other players, such as infrastructure operators, technology suppliers or service providers. They can request or grant (depending on their role) access to data services and applications, which range from route planning, intermodal transport planning, CO2 monitoring, hazardous goods management and much more.

Networking also means improving

AEOLIX has achieved a lot: The platform brings together various actors, who are involved in the relevant logistical processes, and also connects the different IT systems and solutions – across Europe. This has a positive effect on efficiency, productivity and sustainability. In addition, data provided by the AEOLIX services can be refined, if the users explicitly agree to this. For example, GPS data can be geocoded or used to calculate the arrival time of a delivery.

The services are being tested under real-life conditions in 12 ‘Living Labs’ across Europe. “The use cases were very different, so the tests covered the entire supply chain. Our ETA (estimated time of arrival) service is used in almost all Living Labs. One of the labs also relies on our route planning software,” says Krietsch. At the port of Trieste, Italy, AEOLIX assists multiple logistics companies in simplifying their document transfer, booking, status reports and incident and emergency management. These use cases demonstrate the potential that AEOLIX offers at the interface between logistics and traffic management. “In our Living Lab, that we run together with Jan de Rijk Logistics, we are currently testing the new collaborative planning concept. Here, the PTV Route Optimiser is used for route planning and subcontracting,” explains Krietsch.

The AEOLIX closing event, which took place in Hamburg in late June, raised considerable interest among the public and the media: top-class speakers and a lot of media representative attended the final conference. The European flagship project is now entering the second phase: “The good results and the system’s suitability for everyday use will also be of interest for the follow-up project FENIX,” confirms Krietsch. “We are looking forward to FENIX, which is scheduled to start in August!”

To view an animation of the project, click this link

AEOLIX – Architecture for European Logistics Information Exchange

AEOLIX project management: ERTICO – ITS Europe is a partnership of around 100 companies and institutions that are engaged in the production of intelligent transport system (ITS). The ERTICO partners carry out various activities to develop and promote ITS in order to save lives, protect the environment and provide mobility in a cost-efficient manner. 34 project partners are involved in AEOLIX.

Project duration: September 2016 – August 2019

Project volume: around EUR16m. Aeolix is funded by the EU as part of the 2020 Horizon programme.