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Under the ambitious project “Autonomous innovation in terminal operations” (ANITA) the manufacturer MAN, Deutsche Bahn, and the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and the autonomous vehicle solutions manufacturer Götting KG are planning to automate transhipment between the means of transport.

The participants of the ANITA project, which started on 1 July, want to create a fully automated truck for flexible container handling at the terminal. The vehicle will be tested at the DUSS terminal in Ulm Dornstadt during logistics operations carried out there. Experienced crane operators should handle the containers so that the truck can be checked under real conditions, informs MAN in a press release.

First, a dedicated digital infrastructure with all necessary interfaces will be created on site. 

Götting KG will develop algorithms for locating and detecting obstacles for the vehicle, which will allow the truck to move independently in the DB Intermodal Services container depot and DUSS terminal. During the tests there will always be an operator on board the truck, in case of any necessary intervention.

To ensure communication between the truck and the terminal or the container warehouse, the behaviour of people and machines at the terminal will first be analysed and then transformed into digital processes. That’s the job of the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences.

 The particular challenge of the project is not only to understand the behaviour of the system, but also to translate it into a digital concept that machines can work with,” said Christian T. Haas, Director of the Institute for Complex Systems Research at the University of Fresenius.

First step towards terminal 4.0

Combined transport is the key to positive changes in transport. Thanks to the transshipment terminals, customers have access to the railway line, so it is important that we offer efficient and innovative processes here. Containers must be operated faster and more flexibly. To do this, we use digitisation as in the ANITA project: autonomous trucks in the terminal are the first but important step towards Terminal 4.0,” stresses Dr Sigrid Nikutta, member of the board of Deutsche Bahn responsible for freight transport.

Photo: MAN Trucks & Buses

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