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Hamburg Port

The final presentation of the INTERACt research project, for which HPC has been one of three project partners since autumn 2018, has recently taken place at HHLA's headquarters in Hamburg's Speicherstadt. The project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of the IHATEC program dealt with the exciting question of how container terminals can prepare for the handling of autonomously driving trucks.


The aim of the project was to harness the advantages of autonomous driving along the entire transport chain. A special focus was placed on using the vehicles, which were primarily developed for public roads, on terminal areas and integrating them into the operational processes there.

Together with the consortium partners CTD Container Transport Dienst (project management) and the Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), HPC examined to what extent this is already possible.

Our Challenge

It was HPC's task to analyse truck handling on various types of terminals such as container terminals, empty depots or packing companies. For example, our employees accompanied truck drivers on their usual routes for three days and closely monitored related handling processes. Particular attention was paid to the driver's activities that are still pending in addition to the actual driving, e.g. B. load securing, empty container check, documentary effort and clarification of organisational questions. All these tasks need to be taken into account in autonomous driving as well.

On this basis, we defined handling processes for autonomous trucks and used them to derive technical, operational and legal requirements for the vehicles as well as for transport service providers and terminals involved. At last, we compiled them in a catalogue of requirements.

As part of a gap analysis, the project partners outlined, which technical and legal reasons currently speak against the use of autonomous trucks on container terminals. While the load can already be secured with automatic twistlocks, some questions remain, e.g.: Who will take over the empty container check? This is currently not feasible without human effort and, in the case of autonomously driving trucks, involves liability and financing issues for the terminal. This also applies to handling processes and interfaces that are not yet sufficiently standardized (Is the empty container clean? How is that defined?). The developments necessary to close these gaps were summarized in a roadmap.

The final presentation of the INTERACt project met with great interest. We were pleased to welcome guests from all areas involved, such as terminals, depots, packing companies, vehicle manufacturers as well as authorities and associations.

Lessons learned

  • The project partners learned a lot about the handling processes on the different types of terminals.
  • We are able to define the necessary handling processes for autonomous trucks.
  • We know which technical issues need to be solved for the use of autonomous trucks at different terminals (What requirements does the truck need to come up to? How do terminals and hauliers have to prepare?).



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