28 November 2017 • Gideon Wille
URBINN wins Mobility Award 2017
URBINN has won the Mobility Award 2017. This Learning Lab, in which The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) has been working on an autonomously driven vehicle for in the city, has distinguished itself through practical collaboration. Universities, universities of applied sciences, senior secondary vocational education and the corporate community are located in one building which encourages knowledge sharing. That, in particular, was highly valued by Bereikbaar Haaglanden (Accessible Haaglanden), organiser of the Mobility Award.
‘URBINN is not only a collaboration on paper,’ explains John Bolte, head of the research group Smart Sensor Systems, ‘it is a real location; a hangar in Delft where all our participants work on their projects. The advantage of that is that they can learn from each other and pass on that knowledge.’ Bolte, who is in charge of URBINN , accepted the award together with Peter Menger, coordinator of the largest URBINN project, an autonomously driven urban vehicle Alley Hoop.
Experimental test bed
The Learning Lab is a kind of experimental test bed. Bolte: ‘Here, we have students from the university, the university of applied sciences and senior secondary vocational education. We work together with the High Tech Centre and the Betafactory. Six minors and three faculties at THUAS are involved. We also work with SMEs. With Accenda, for instance, we are working on an autonomous waste bin Urby. The projects are varied, and range from a smart wheelchair to an autonomously driven vehicle. What’s more, we not only develop the hardware, but students also work on the software, for example semantic mapping that an autonomously driven vehicle can use to interpret its environment. URBINN is rather unique, on 22 November we even had a Danish delegation visiting the High Tech Centre and URBINN. They wanted to know how you organise such a collaboration between various educational institutes.’
The award is of course a boost for the students working on their assignments in the Learning Lab. ‘We expect a great deal of independence from the students at URNINN,’ explains Bolte. ‘That they write their programmes and take on the role of project manager. It is the place to work with a development team for the first time in much the same way as they would in the corporate community. We have a vast array of tools at our disposal; from a bridge for cars to 3D printers. You can make anything here.’
Bolte and his students in the Learning Lab have already been celebrating their success. The future looks bright for URBINN. A collaboration with Ghent University has just taken off and there is a subsidy from the SIA for the Let’s Move IT project about fleet management and smart combined environment interpretation. Bolte: ‘The award is great. This puts us on the map, the local broadcaster, Omroep West, has been to URBINN and businesses are getting to know us. The award is a quality mark which can help us attract more funding.’
The Mobility Award is an initiative of Bereikbaar Haaglanden, a network of employers, entrepreneurs, logistics organisations and administrations working towards improving accessibility. The award has four categories. Logistics, Innovative Approach and Employee Approach for organisations up to 500 staff and those with over 500 staff. URBINN won in the Innovation Approach category.