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Freight Urban RoBOTic vehicle
General information
Europe University of PISA
From 2011-11-01 to 2015-12-31 Completed

FURBOT (Freight Urban RoBOTic vehicle) is a project funded by the European Union which aims to develop a new vehicle to improve the urban freight transport. The vehicle represents a transport agent that can be used alone but that better exploits its power if used in a fleet, offering a sustainable and an adaptable urban freight transport.

The project proposes novel concept architectures of light-duty, full-electrical vehicles for efficient sustainable urban freight transport and will develop FURBOT, a vehicle prototype, to demonstrate expected performances.


Objectives of the project include:

  • Full electrical vehicle prototype
  • Energy efficient
  • Dexterous mobility
  • Equipped with robotic load/unload device
  • Light weight high strength material
  • Endowed with perceptual system and intelligent control
  • Standardized freight units
  • A discrete time simulator for FURBOT fleet networking analysis and management

The vehicle is equipped with proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensors which allow it to understand the internal state of the vehicle and the environment surrounding it. In addition it offers several driving assistance services such as emergency braking, obstacle avoidance, parking assistance, itinerary assistance, and adaptive speed control Robotic Handling System.


The project focuses on the development of a next generation urban freight transport vehicle, FURBOT, and a sustainable urban freight delivery system based on a fleet of FURBOT vehicles. The system will increase freight mobility inside cities, including restricted areas inaccessible to existing vehicles, while guaranteeing the safety of users and non-users and maintaining a negligible impact in terms of environmental and acoustic pollution and land occupation.

The scientific and technological (S&T) advances towards this goal which have been achieved in the project are: the design of vehicle architectures, the construction and street testing of one prototype FURBOT unit, and the development of a simulation/optimization environment for the logistics set-up and evaluation of different strategies to efficiently manage a FURBOT vehicle fleet for freight delivery in a given urban environment.

  • Increased energy efficiency and improved transport safety: A great effort is spent in improving energy efficiency both at vehicle and service system level. The FURBOT concept is expected to reduce primary energy consumption by at least 45% less with respect to the best of class vehicles in the same category. This quantitative improvement will be shown during the laboratory and road demonstrations.
  • Enhance transport safety: The vehicles are developed to share urban areas with cars, bicycles and pedestrians; transport safety is a key issue. The vehicle perceptual and communication systems, the intrinsic stable structure and low velocity are a good basis for safety.
  • Commercial activity expansion in urban zones: FURBOT gives the opportunity to expand commercial activities in urban zones that are not accessible to traditional freight vehicles, including historical centres and green areas, without introducing noise and pollution, by integrating them via urban freight transport networks served by FURBOT fleets.

Related Projects


Lead by: University of PISA.

Further partners: INRIA, Bremach Industrie srl, DIMEC, Serviços Municipalizados de Transportes Colectivos do Barreiro, ZTS-VVU Vyskumno-vyvojovy ustav Kosice, a.s., Mazel Ingenieros, S. A, Persico spa

Budget / Funding

Total cost: € 3.223.340,77 / EU contribution: € 2.269.961

Funded under the call: FP7-SST-2011-RTD-1

Topic: GC.SST.2011.7-10. - Architectures of Light Duty Vehicles for Urban Freight Transport


urban freight; logistics; automated vehicle; assisted driving; electric vehicle; platooning