Autonomous vehicles in our ports

An 80-ton Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)

BA Systèmes and Gaussin: two French companies tackling port terminals to develop automated solutions for container logistics management.

Ports are cornerstones of the international supply chain. The globalisation of trade has resulted in an ever-increasing number of containers shipped throughout the world. In response to this challenge, logistics experts must combine efficiency and reliability whilst respecting environmental constraints. The solution is system automation. BA Systèmes and Gaussin have joined forces in this market to offer a fully automated electrical system. The solution consists of an autonomous vehicle, moving over a meshed area of transponders, using electric motors. BA Systèmes, which oversees trajectory control, relied on Acsystème’s expertise in automation to model and simulate the system.

With a vehicle approaching 80 tons laden, it is important to ensure the stability of the controls put in place. Starting the study involves the construction of a numerical model aimed at reproducing the behaviour of the system. The key element is the modelling of the dynamic part of the vehicle: 2 steering axles the steering angle of which can reach 45 degrees, a more complex case than our traditional cars. Calibration tests bring the model closer to reality. The automation engineer can then carry out various analyses (frequency, performance, sensitivity, etc.): the limits of the system are then tested digitally beyond the constraints imposed by a physical prototype, without risk of damage and free of costs. This environment can also be used to adjust the sizing of components, optimise or add functions, etc.

The study was delivered with knowledge sharing that allows the customer to reproduce the approach identically for another vehicle.

Geoffrey Potonnec, April 2016

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