Sustainability and Outlook

In view of the considerable challenges and bottlenecks in the transport sector on the one hand, and the great potential of inland navigation on the other, a high demand for research can also be expected in the future. Against the background of climate change, the emphasis is increasingly on the use and development of new navigation concepts and energy sources to reduce emissions, as well as on matters of cost and energy-efficiency. The development of innovative concepts for the adaptation of the vessels to extremely low water should also be seen in this context.

A further focus is on questions of automation up to and including (semi-)autonomous navigation. In view of the increasing linking-up of transport modes, changing economic structures (“freight structure effect”) and a growing shortage of qualified nautical personnel, these approaches also open up opportunities for inland navigation to reduce costs and strengthen its innovativeness in the long term. The “Research Strategy for Automated Navigation in Inland Navigation” was developed in this sense, and its overarching goal is the development of autonomous inland vessels.

In this context, the DST now set up the “Test and Control Centre for Autonomous Inland Vessels” as a virtual test field in cooperation with the Chair of Mechatronics and System Dynamics of the UDE.