On April 12, SINOTRUK put into use the world’s first unmanned electric howo truck in Tianjin Port, marking the important step forward for the unmanned L4 electric truck to move from the conceptual phase to commercial use.
The journalist saw that, without human intervention, the unmanned electric vehicle, equipped with laser radar, HD camera and intelligent calculation unit, made the designated movements including road driving, accurate parking, container loading/unloading and response to barriers. It realized the whole-process automatic driving and transportation ranging from container handling to storage yard.
According to Mr. Zhu Lianyi, the Vice Director of Technology & Telecom Department, Tianjin Port (Group) Co., Ltd., the success of trial operations not only marks China has made new breakthroughs of intelligent driving of unmanned electric truck in port working conditions. It also provides the feasible solutions to solving the problem of automatic transportation in container dock. Moreover, it makes positive attempts to promote innovative development of green and smart logistics in China.
SINOTRUK focuses on Intelligence and New Energy
This unmanned electrical truck, in addition to the eye-catching battery module, does not differ greatly from ordinary container truck in appearance. It is equipped with Beidou positioning system and laser radar, mm-wave radar, camera and other devices. Also equipped with a few AI technologies, it ensures the wonderful working state at night and in fog, rains and rainfalls and in complex situation of cross-operation of staff, vehicles and equipment, so as to make sure the 24-hour all-weather production and operations in the port.
Relying on the great competency accumulated in the past six decades and the leading design philosophy, SINOTRUK has utilized AI, Internet of Vehicles, cloud computing, new energies, new materials and other innovative technologies to customize for the port the world’s first L4 unmanned electric truck, HOWO—T5G. It is equipped with the world’s leading driving system and the mature & reliable pure-electric central drive control system. The fully-loaded truck can drive about 120KM and the charging time is less than one hour.
Today, SINOTRUK has made great breakthroughs in intelligence and new-energy field because of its steadyefforts in R&D and manufacturing. As the birthplace of heavy-duty vehicles in China, SINOTRUK has always emphasized on explorations in intelligence and new energy. It is the leader of intelligent manufacturing and pace-setter of new-energy vehicles.
In terms of intelligence, in September 2016, SINOTRUK launched the first-generation intelligent truck, which combined rear-end collision prevention, side-turn prevention, lane straying prevention, anti-sliding and self-adaptive cruise control, etc. Active safety of heavy-duty trucks in China have made the new steps. In December 2017, the first 20 intelligent trucks of SINOTRUK was put into market operation, leading China’s intelligent heavy-duty trucks into the new stage of commercial and industrialized development. In February, SINOTRUK kicked off the large marketing campaign of intelligent trucks in seven cities, resulting in orders for 1,041 intelligent trucks. Also, SINOTRUK recruited Ms. Cassell, the leading expert in the global AI development, as SINOTRUK’s strategic consultant of AI in February. Cassell made keynote speech in SINOTRUK. After viewing the SINOTRUK production line and first-generation intelligent trucks, Ms. Cassell, who praised many times its intelligent trucks, was amazed by its technologies.
In the field of new-energy vehicles, SINOTRUK takes the lead in the transition from old driving force to the new one by developing the natural-gas heavy-duty trucks, establishing the Hydrogen Power Vehicle Innovation Center and setting Academician Working Station. Nowadays, SINOTRUK products cover several categories, including the pure electric, hybrid and clean energy products. In July 2017, SINOTRUK developed its first hydrogen fuel cell yardtractor, which has attracted great attention in the industry. This time, the trial operation of pure electric truck provides the new green choice of port vehicles.
SINOTRUK customizes L4 unmanned electric truck for the port, whose highlight is the economic, safe and cross-border transportation.
Mr. Tian Lei, Vice Director of the Department of Vehicle Electronics Design in SINOTRUK Technical Development Center, said that SINOTRUK cooperated with Academician Li Deyi of the Chinese Academy of Engineering to establish the SINOTRUK Academician Working Station for Intelligent Connected Vehicles. The trial operation was spearheaded by Academician Li Deyi. SINOTRUK, Tianjin Port and Tianjin Main Line Science and Technology Co., Ltd. got into deep technological cooperation and made joint technological innovations. It is a bold attempt of partnership among vehicle manufacturer, port company and high-end developer, which will speed up the upgrading of unmanned electric truck R&D, encourage the automatic container dock to realize revolutions and strong stimulate upgrading and development of smart and green logistics in China.
Automatic container dock is the future trend of port, and the major indicator of world-class marine port in the world. For most ports, it is feasible to make automation upgrading and renovation of established container dock. However, they have to solve the problem of horizontal transportation of containers in the feasible and economical way.
At present, horizontal transportation in automatic container dock adopts two models, first, AGV plus magnetic nails buried on the road, which will cost nearly 10 million RMB; second, unmanned electric trucks, which can drive automatically and intelligently in the dock and storage yard, transporting the containers to the designated position, thus not only shortening the transportation process, but also resulting in moderate price. “Is the plan economically feasible?” Dr. Zhang Tianlei, founder & CEO of Tianjin Main Line Science & Technology Co., Ltd. said, “in terms of cost, expenditures in unmanned electric truck are about one third of AGV. However, the cost will fall down as automobile manufacturers realize mass production. In terms of future use, unmanned electric truck is featured by plain structure, easy purchase of spare parts and same maintenance and repair as conventional container trucks. As a result, the routine maintenance cost will be lower. Besides, because unmanned electric trucks don’t need to use other special apparatuses such as magnetic nails, they can not only adapt to large-field operations in the port, but also drive out of the port to meet more demands for cross-border transportation.”
Based on the trial operation in Tianjin Port, SINOTRUK will focus on China’s efforts to push forward green transport development, develop intelligent trucks used on intelligent highways, mines and logistics parks, launch the intelligent electric container trucks featured by better automatic driving performance, lighter weight, stronger chassis, faster charging and longer mileage, thus helping intelligent logistics make upgrading in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, work hard to build itself into the first-class company with global competitiveness, make sure SINOTRUK products become the synonym of Best Quality, and help China upgrade from Big Manufacturing Power to Strong Manufacturing Power, and upgrade from Made in China to Developed by China.
By Zhou Chao & Wang Luna