Huawei has built an intelligent horizontal transport system at the terminal of Section C in the Beijiang Port Area of Tianjin Port, using cloud-based centralized dispatching to increase port-wide efficiency. The project has achieved Level 4 autonomous driving, enabling 76 Intelligent Guided Vehicles (IGVs) in a fleet to collaborate efficiently.
As hubs of global supply chains, ports play a critical role in promoting international trade. Traditional ports rely on humans to operate container cranes working under harsh working environments, are labor intensive and suffer from workforce shortages. These challenges hinder the rapid development of global sea transportation. Therefore, port automation and intelligent reconstruction have emerged as the industry's overarching goals.
Ports worldwide are going through a process of automation driven by the latest technologies like 5G, cloud and AI. A typical port deals with vessel arrivals and departures, shore-side operations, horizontal transport, yard operations, manual tractor-trailer transport and gate operations. One of the key steps in port digitalization is automating horizontal transport that handles cargo within the port. Currently, conventional horizontal transport faces three major challenges: harsh working environments, safety risks due to driver fatigue and inefficient manual dispatching.
Huawei's intelligent horizontal transport system has five key advantages:
- Global path planning. Huawei has designed a global path planning algorithm based on vehicle kinematics, which ensures that individual vehicles stay on their paths. The algorithm enables multiple IGVs to make turns smoothly, whether traveling in one or both directions. This is the key to safe and efficient multi-vehicle cooperation. The solution also features dynamic short path planning on the cloud, responding to many terminal operations and adjusting tasks in real time.
- High-precision positioning. Huawei uses BeiDou, 5G, HD maps, and roadside sensing assistance to assure high-precision lane-level positioning. As a result, 90% of quay cranes successfully align on the first try, significantly improving operational efficiency.
- MDC intelligent driving platform. The upgraded Huawei MDC offers automotive-grade assurance, including ultimate computing power and long service life. It also simplifies O&M by providing standardized hardware.
- Core system integration. In addition to core service systems such as TOS, Huawei's intelligent horizontal transport system can quickly interconnect with other peripheral service systems. With Huawei's intelligent charging dispatching algorithm, IGVs are charged at the best possible time, preventing interruptions to fleet services. Using Huawei's intelligent intersection dispatching algorithm, ports can preset intersection traffic policies to ensure proper access by manual tractor-trailers and autonomous trucks.
- Cloud-vehicle decoupling. Huawei decouples the cloud from vehicles through an open ecosystem. As a result, the solution can support a wide range of intelligent driving vehicle models, making it more cost-effective and easier to promote. The service takeover rate for a regular autonomous driving solution is about 5–6%. Huawei's solution reduces this to less than 0.1%, ensuring safer operations. Huawei also performs dynamic short-path planning to ensure that IGV paths never cross each other. This prevents collisions even if the network is abruptly disconnected.
Intelligent, horizontal transport must meet three conditions: 1) more than five operation lines must function simultaneously to support large vessels, while 2) the system should be able to manage large-scale fleets and 3) support dispatching in complex port scenarios.
Section C terminal in the Beijiang Port Area of Tianjin Port is the first smart terminal of its kind to deploy an intelligent horizontal transport system that performs large-scale, normalized operations.