#3: Autonomous transport and trailers
To better facilitate efficiency in its cargo logistics operations, Fraport AG at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is planning a “smart air cargo trailer” (SAT) research project for its CargoCity South with the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. As designed, the SAT will be supported by autonomous short-haul semitrailer trucks designed by German autonomous vehicle manufacturer KAMAG Transporttechnik. Both pieces of equipment will be controlled automatically using a cloud-based platform developed by German logistics company CargoSteps. According to Fraport, this innovation “will test autonomous transports in mixed traffic parallel to regular tuck and passenger car traffic at the site for the first time.” The project is currently in its conceptual phase, with a test planned for this summer.
Reliant on a real-time demand for cargo transport, the SAT project is designed to streamline short-haul cargo transport by reducing the number of inefficient truck transports that take place over short routes, which otherwise result in long waiting times at ramps and higher levels of carbon emissions. Beyond functioning as a storage container, the trailer will include a camera system that collects real-time information about the loaded packages optically from their barcodes. When scanned, the information will be uploaded automatically to the cloud and will be immediately accessible to any stakeholders involved. Upon reaching a certain capacity, the SAT system will initiate a request in the cloud system for an autonomous vehicle to transport the cargo.
Autonomous smart semitrucks designed by KAMAG will pick up cargo from the trailer and then transport the cargo from the SAT in the central warehouse to its appropriate destination with a freight forwarder or handler. The autonomous vehicles are guided by transponders signal devices implanted in the ground and are controlled by a central computer integrated into the cloud system.
Fraport aims to have the project completed by the end of 2019.