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Kalmar: Future of Container Handling is Automation

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Image courtesy of Kalmar

Kalmar’s Director of Terminal Automation Jari Hämäläinen has called artificial intelligence (AI) “the number one focus area for the world’s ICT giants” in the Cargotec company’s latest blog post.

Hämäläinen described the future of container handling as the combination of robotics and AI, or “robotAIsation”, a term that the cargo-handling specialist has coined.

With AI-powered robots “set to assume responsibility”, Hämäläinen has predicted that autonomously operating equipment and vehicles are only the first step in this development.

View Kalmar's cargo handling systems for ports and terminals in PTI's Supplier Directory

“Current work in artificial intelligence is increasingly moving in a direction in which the developer is not responsible for the smartness of the AI, but for enabling self-learning in the system,” stated Hämäläinen, who predicts that the development will also boost productivity at container terminals.

However, even with the ability to feed solutions to problems and inefficiencies immediately into the software development process, Hämäläinen’s has found automation limitations that affect his confidence in robotAIsation.

Eduard Musalf discusses safety and automation in a recent Port Technology technical paper

This includes ‘exception handling’, where human operators are required to oversee the work of AI-powered machines and software.

Nevertheless, Hämäläinen has expressed confidence that once AI capabilities utilise data generated by terminals, the benefits in service and customer support will be “enormous”.

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