A new system for the automation of port vehicles

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The Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (IRI; CSIC-UPC) took part in the European Project LOGIMATIC, whose aim was to develop a high-precision positioning system for the automation of port logistics vehicles in a cost-effective way.

It is estimated that there will be a 3.8% increase in annual volume of port logistics vehicles between 2018 and 2023. This considerable increase in port activity, combined with a lack of adjacent land that prevents infrastructure from being expanded, means that more efficient, cost-effective means are required for the use of port vehicles, so that the management of port logistics can be improved in conditions of high congestion and capacity.

The LOGIMATIC system has developed an advanced solution for location and independent navigation based on EGNSS satellite navigation systems (GALILEU) and sensors on-board straddle carriers (SC) (a combination of a forklift and a gantry crane that can be used to move containers).  A geographic information system (GIS) control module has been implemented that is compatible with the operating systems of the current terminals for the general optimisation of routes and administration of SC vehicle fleets, as well as a system to detect and avoid potential hacking of the navigation systems. The results of the project have been tested satisfactorily in Thessaloniki, Greece.

It is expected that the SCs market will reach 12,000 units in 2021. The solution proposed by LOGIMATIC could be used to automate existing port vehicles instead of renewing the entire fleet. This will facilitate the transition towards automated container handling in small and medium-sized ports.

The LOGIMATIC project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Programme 2020 Industrial Leadership. It had a budget of 2.4 million euros over the three years of its execution (2016-2019). The project has been coordinated by Eurecat and, in addition to the IRI (CSIC-UPC), six other partners have been involved from Greece, Italy and Spain.

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