Website traffic statistics
Pages viewed and unique visitors to WCN Online
Month/
year
Page
views
Unique
visitors
Dec '17805,27831,110
Nov '17806,48132,160
Oct '17733,01434,345
Sep '17685,28725,490
Aug '17947,20130,169
Jul '17688,12024,645
Jun '17710,85423,452
May '17809,49122,808
Apr '17600,63723,897
Mar '17664,10026,870
Feb '17511,81924,889
Jan '17597,53831,368
Dec '16692,56026,566
Nov '16672,32528,904
Oct '16558,87820,127
Sep '16528,03820,578
Aug '16482,16818,484
Jul '16461,78816,728
Jun '16452,25720,350
May '16522,07718,502
Apr '16433,09116,773
Mar '16454,71616,488
Feb '16479,59014,371
Jan '16529,85415,815
Dec '15492,60218,837
Nov '15353,00820,085
Oct '15417,35713,005
Sep '15355,91215,297
Aug '15411,40314,704
Jul '15354,72013,342
Jun '15417,67319,164
May '15580,07721,606
Apr '15376,62021,696
Mar '15339,35123,090
Feb '15332,08421,684
Jan '15322,89225,157
Dec '14356,31821,346
Nov '14366,08923,187
Oct '14357,83324,423
Sep '14401,28320,054
Aug '14372,89715,248
Jul '14358,38815,902
Jun '14320,07316,212
May '14388,06821,008
Apr '14341,87020,693
Mar '14313,31919,996
Feb '14271,67916,435
Jan '14200,47419,854
Dec '1393,03315,996
Nov '1392,26117,397
Oct '1389,71817,456
Sep '1394,33018,762
Aug '13102,80416,609
Jul '1382,65216,167
Jun '1388,37417,497
May '13104,17220,211
Apr '1397,46219,191
Mar '13115,84721,047
Feb '13102,19020,176
Jan '13120,44421,077
Dec '12110,79719,692
Nov '12103,45821,428
Oct '1290,41919,012
Sep '1299,50420,003
Aug '12111,41120,782
Jul '12110,15420,259
Jun '12106,61220,830
May '12120,22120,940
Apr '1280,45617,069
Mar '12103,54521,411
Feb '1293,23421,162
Jan '1285,53419,807
Dec '1182,36615,345
Nov '1181,83620,021
Oct '1179,78019,855
Sep '1162,05814,726
Aug '1155,77813,859
Jul '1166,33614,504
Jun '1180,32018,321
May '1184,29219,675
Apr '11194,02719,022
Mar '11127,03417,375
Feb '1165,99614,928
Jan '1167,05315,578

WorldCargo News the world's leading resource for international cargo professionals
CLICK HERE for our FREE weekly eNewsletter
Search: 

Published: November 2017      

VDL steps up autonomous driving

VDL Groep is strengthening its position in the field of smart mobility.

VDL, the family-owned industrial group with its head office in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is demonstrating that autonomous electric driving is already available, and forms the basis for future mobility and connectivity concepts that will have a major impact on freight and passenger transport.

As reported last month (WorldCargo News, October 2017, p1), VDL recently delivered its first driverless terminal tractor to logistics company Katoen Natie in Singapore, for transporting semi-trailers for Exxon-Mobil. The pilot truck, which has a top speed of 25 kph, is used to transport polymer resin products from a packaging facility to a warehouse 3-4 km away at the oil company’s manufacturing plant on Jurong Island.

The vehicle’s functionalities will be steadily increased between now and the spring of 2018, including the number of trailer collection and delivery points. Katoen Natie plans to increase the number of VDL trucks to 12 after the pilot project ends in 3-6 months, and eventually to 18.

Move to satellite

The software and equipment that make automatic driving possible were prepared by VDL in the Netherlands, and the machine was assembled at the VDL unit in Singapore. Initially, the trucks will drive on Exxon-Mobil’s premises equipped with electronic beacons and embedded transponders.

In a second phase, they will be deployed on Jurong Island, where they will have to find their way around using satellite navigation. Eventually, the plan is that they will operate in normal traffic in Singapore. Provisionally, this could be as early as 2020.

The driverless trucks are a solution for Katoen Natie’s operations in Singapore, where local drivers are hard to find, and the government wants to reduce the number of foreign drivers. “The chemical industry will see some very significant growth in the decade to come, and finding the drivers to handle these volumes will become a very big challenge for all of us,” said Koen Cardon, CEO of Katoen Natie Singapore. This project is not about eliminating jobs, but is a means to upgrade the skills of operators.”

He said the company is already in talks with Singapore’s Transport Ministry and other government agencies, to expand the permit routes within Jurong Island, and ultimately to a port using public roads.

“It’s good to see that our automated trucks are making logistics more efficient and safer, and increasingly easy to fit into existing logistics chains,” said Karel Smits, manager of VDL Automated Vehicles, speaking in Singapore.

The right chemistry

In May this year, WorldCargo News reported (p28) BASF’s plans to transform the internal logistics of its massive chemicals plant in Ludwigshaven, Germany, switching from tanker wagon loading and train marshalling, to a much faster intermodal solution involving highly customised 45ft and 52ft tank containers, railhead ASCs from Hans Künz, spreaders, and lifting AGVs and stillages (or frames) from VDL.

This is a huge transformation, as it currently takes around 22 hours to transport a tank car between any of the site’s 150 filling stations and the train station on the maze of internal rail tracks. With the new automated system, at regime, the object is to reduce the time to just one hour.

Following the success with the pilot AGV and frames, BASF has placed a follow-up order for AGVs and more than 100 frames from VDL, as it takes delivery of more of the new generation of tank containers from Magyar and Van Hool, together with AGV battery charging stations, traffic control systems and infrastructure.

The AGVs are operating in a manned environment, and, moreover, whole-sale automation is being installed at a 130-year-old brownfield site. The modular vehicle construction has been adapted in such a way that a certified level of safety (TÜV SIL2) is achieved, with smart integration of computers, cameras, sensors and scanners.

“This follow-up order from BASF is a confirmation of our team’s performance, and is also essential to our next development step,” said Karel Smits. “Thanks to the customer’s confidence in us, we are at the forefront of autonomous heavy-duty transportation.” The fully electric vehicles will cover routes over a distance of more than 100 km, at a maximum speed of 30 kph. Manufacturing work on the AGVs will start in January, and the deliveries will take place from H2 2018.

The new AGV is a development of the existing VDL AGV for port use. The 16-axle, 18m-long vehicle is claimed to be the first AGV in the world where the surrounding area no longer needs to be physically protected by a fence, or in which a ‘guard’ has to ride.

When empty, the AGVs weigh 28t, and, when laden, up to 113t. As noted, they are self-(un)loading, and, furthermore, are just 1.15m tall. This means that, when loaded, they can navigate easily under the existing pipes and lines that are part of the local infrastructure....


Read this item in full

This complete item is approximately 1000 words in length, and appeared in the November 2017 issue of WorldCargo News, on page 23.

  • Full-access subscribers only:Click here to download this issue or read it online now
  • Click here to buy this issue, and download it or read it online
  • Click here to subscribe online to WorldCargo News now and get immediate access to this issue
  • Click here for a sample back-issue of WorldCargo News
Read related items

Click on the links below to read other news and features related to this item.

Visit related websites:


All contents © WCN Publishing, 24 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8BX, England.