Project includes an AGV from China’s Dongfeng Motor Corporation
COSCO SHIPPING has revealed that, together with China Mobile, and Dongfeng Motor Corporation, it jointly held a cloud launch event for “Smart Port Enabled by 5G + Self-driving Technology” via China Mobile’s 5G+ cloud video system in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shiyan, Hong Kong, and Xiamen on March 11.
Compared to “traditional automated terminals”, said COSCO SHIPPING, “a smart port featuring the full-scenario application of 5G technology adopts 5G signal transmission while leveraging 5G’s large bandwidth, low latency, and massive connectivity to significantly improve the efficiency of information exchange and realise accurate equipment control”.
The technology was demonstrated at the Xiamen Ocean Gate Terminal in Xiamen, China. In 2014 XOCT became the first terminal in China to implement AGVs, with a fleet of ZPMC battery powered machines serving an ASC yard that operates adjacent to a conventional RTG yard. The ASC yard layout is unique in that the cranes have no cantilevers, but run parallel to the quay. While it is in a separate area, the ASC yard system is effectively an extension of the RTG yard layout.
The autonomous vehicle and 5G demonstration was carried out on the RTG side of the terminal, where horizontal transport is managed by conventional road trucks and trailers. Reports from demonstration state that the Dongfeng autonomous vehicle moved an export container from the yard to the COSCO Rose, then loaded another import container under a different STS crane and returned to the RTG yard, where the autonomous vehicle positioned under an RTG crane and the container was removed.
The "autonomous vehicle" is basically an AGV, and it is not known whether Dongfeng Motor Corporation intends to produce AGVs on a commercial scale for port applications. The AGV pictured appears to be much smaller than other machines in use today. It is carrying a 20ft container, and looks to be too short to carry a 40ft box, with much smaller wheels than are typically fitted to AGVs. Dongfeng is developing other autonomous vehicles for use on public roads and it is likely some of that technology was used in the navigation system.
For COSCO SHIPPING and partners, the main focus of the event was the 5G technology. It showed, said COSCO Shipping, that XOCT “has achieved intelligence in the entire port by applying 5G technology to specific business operations, such as remote control of port machinery, autonomous driving, intelligent tallying, and intelligent security. 5G smart port construction is an important effort for combining the industrial chain with the innovation chain, accelerating new infrastructure construction, and building China’s strength in transportation. In addition, it is helpful for ports to fight against the pandemic of COVID-19, quickly resume operations, and ensure a smooth global supply chain".
“At the launch event, the three parties also released the joint enterprise standard of Performance of Self-driving Container Trucks at Ports and Its Test Method, White Paper on the Full-Scenario Implementation of 5G Technology at Smart Ports, and Implementation Plan and Roadmap of 5G Smart Ports, which serves as a foundation for 5G smart port construction both at home and abroad,” COSCO SHIPPING concluded.