The project, covering the onboard navigation system, navigation infrastructure and Kalmar’s “SmartFleet” remote diagnostic tools was started in the autumn of 2013, and the navigation application was fully integrated with PSA Singapore's in-house systems by the end of 2014.
“The software, originally developed by Kalmar for the AutoShuttle, is responsible for automatically controlling the AGVs, guiding the vehicles along their given routes and measuring accurately their positions using transponder navigation. The Kalmar SmartFleet diagnostics tools provide a remote view of the operation of the equipment, as well as storage and call-up of essential AGV alarms and machine signals for operator analysis”.
Timo Alho, Director, Terminal Automation, at Kalmar, emphasised that the project successfully integrated its navigation technologies to third party equipment, and “proves that our automation solutions are indeed compatible with any equipment brand”, as well as being completed on time and within budget.
In June 2012 WorldCargo News broke the story that PSA Singapore had awarded a tender to Singapore Technologies Kinetics Limited and ZPMC to develop two AGV prototypes each, to be integrated with a common navigation system from Cargotec, of which Kalmar is a part. The AGVs were to have an energy-efficient hybrid drive.
Since then PSA Singapore has ordered further AGVs from VDL Containersystemen featuring hybrid diesel-electric drives with ultra capacitors.
PSA is clearly pushing to develop a competitive market for automated container handling equipment, and is prepared to invest in proprietary software for key parts of the overall automation system. Kalmar’s announcement makes no mention of the key Traffic Management System (TMS) and optimisation functions, which, it is believed, are being developed by ST Kinetics and other organisations in Singapore as proprietary technology, owned by the PSA.