MAN Truck & BusDeutsche Bahn, the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting KG make a positive medium-term balance of the ANITA automation joint project (Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Operations). With the first public project of a system of Autonomous truck driving on the MAN test track In Munich, the partners presented the results achieved so far and announced that the next step would be extensive practical and development tests at the DB Intermodal Services container depot and the DUSS (Deutsche Umschlaggesellschaft Schiene-Straße mbH) terminal in Munich. Ulm Dornstadt.
ANITA’s goal is use self-driving trucks to stabilize the processes involved in transferring containers from road to rail, making them more efficient, easier to plan and, at the same time, more flexible. This will allow, in the future, more goods are transported in a combined transport environmentally friendly. To this end, MAN will refine the electronic functions of the autonomous truck in the real operating context in the coming months so that the truck can analyze the environment, react and plan like a real real driver.
«ANITA’s basic automation technology is ready. For its set-up we are going to make a direct comparison with the practice that allows us to continue developing the system with a view to achieving operational safety and providing added value to the future user. explains Frederik Zohm, member of the MAN Truck & Bus Research and Development Board of Directors during the premiere trip. We continue with this approach systematically with the aim of being able to offer, by the end of the decade, cautonomous aons in the transport between terminals as series technology. Committed partners such as Deutsche Bahn, Götting KG and Fresenius University are essential in this process».
The partners have planned a full year of test drives that will allow confront the autonomous prototype with realityand do so as often as possible during the gradual process of development and optimization. There is a security driver at all times who intervenes when necessary. These extensive test drives not only benefit the future Development Of The Autonomous Truck, they also help to adapt the terminals to integrate the new technology.
«The combination of rail and road is an ecological solution for the logistics of the future. We are working together to ensure the growth of these intermodal transports Digitization and automation help us to simplify and streamline the interfaces with the freight train, as well as the processes in the terminals”, notes Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, a member of the board of directors of Transport of Goods for Deutsche Bahn AG and Chairman of the Board of Directors of DB Cargo AG.
The challenges of the autonomous truck
In order for the autonomous truck to carry out its tasks of transport in the field of container handling, it must be able to communicate with the DBIS repository infrastructure and the DUSS terminal. In this regard, scientists from the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences analyzed, in the first phase of the project, the existing processes and procedures, as well as the on-site behavior of people and machines to later translate them into digital rules. Deon Digital’s Contract Specification Language (CSL) serves as a common language for clear and comprehensive communication of all systems involved. The result is a complete mission planning system that links both vehicle and computer systems of the DBIS warehouse and the DUSS terminal.
«We are pleased to see how all the preliminary work we have done can be used successfully in interaction with the truck as the ANITA project progresses», emphasizes Professor Christian T. Haas, from the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences. On subsequent test drives, scientists’ mission planning transmits your commands to the autonomous truck and accompanies you throughout the entire container handling process.
«Every day we will learn something more during the practical tests in the terminal“ says Amelie Jacquemart-Purson, project manager at MAN. “High competence is required engineering to combine camera dataLIDAR (laser object detection and measurement system) and radar, as well as to interpret and implement them correctly».
This implies, in particular, a great deal of work in software development. MAN will analyze the behavior of the vehicle on test runs. The conclusions drawn will be implemented gradually through software updates. The autonomous system must be able to encompass all the decisions a driver makes on a daily basis, based on their sensory impressions, which is nothing more than replacing human actions and perceptions.
On July 1, 2020, the project began «Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Operations» (ANITA, for its acronym in German) with the aim of automating the handling between different types of transportthus achieving greater flexibility and efficiency. The German Federal Ministry of Economy and Environment has financed the project with 5.5 million euros from the New Technologies for Systems and Vehicles program, which lasts 39 months.