One of our main areas of R&D is automatic navigation and within this area there is one project called the Autoport project. This project is aimed at the creation of the technologies required for the automation of stowage operations of boats known as roll-on/roll-off or Ro-Ro.
The constant increase in the need for transport as well as a simultaneous increase in concern about the environment make maritime transport an attractive alternative, because it is much less contaminating than transport by road. For this reason there exists a special interest in the technological development for this sector, in order to be able to increase its efficiency and competitiveness in comparison to other alternatives.
The stowage is a very common operation in the transport of goods by sea. Traditionally, it used to be performed by the operators at the ports. The automatization of this task by using an autonomous vehicle, so without an operator, has as primary advantage time reduction of the operations, the best exploitation of the volume of the ships and a more efficient placement of the goods.
The vehicle in question exists of two parts, a tractor and a rolltrailer. Both are equipped with sensors to avoid collision with objects or persons and the ability to replan and recalculate the routes to continue its task after an interruption.
imatia participates in this project together with the companies Tecnalia and Galman, as well as the University of Vigo. The project is financed by the program Interconnect 2013 organized by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Center of Industrial Technical Development (Spanish abbreviation: CDTI).
Recently, an article appeared about this topic in the magazine “Automática e Instrumentación”, written in collaboration with the CEO of imatia Fernando Vázquez and the Project Director Ricardo Samaniego. An online version of this article is available in Spanish by clicking here.