VDL Automated Vehicles (VDL) has announced it will supply 77 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam (ECT), one of Europe’s most advanced container terminal operators.
The order comes after a previous agreement in mid-2019 when PSA International ordered 80 VDL AGVs for its terminal.
The announcement marks the third large AGV order VDL will deliver to ECT. The first contract was awarded in 2011. The first deliveries at the time consisted of a total of 85 AGVs and each AGV has since transported more than 100,000 containers, the company said.
The company also said the new order is a result of the “positive experience” and the “mutual trust which has developed between the two parties over the years”.
The new vehicles will consume 50% less fuel compared to the diesel-powered AGVs they will replace. Next to the battery diesel hybrid drive line, also smart vehicle control software is a key factor in the reduction of the fuel consumption.
In a statement, VDL said the AGVs have been “designed according a modular concept and using building blocks to configure the complete AGV, so called configure to order.”
This is not only limited to the mechanical construction of the vehicle but also blocks are used in the electrical and software design however most advantage can be found and seen in the mechanical part of the vehicle.
The machines will have VDL’s own navigation system, based on a comparable platform used by large car manufacturers, which the company says will enable far more efficient container transshipment through vehicle-2-vehicle (V2V) communication.
This makes it possible for them to drive closer together and this results in shorter waiting times between trips, which in turn means more containers per AGV can be transported. Normally there is only communication between the AGV and the terminal operation system via its fleet management system.
Using the V2V technology and communication the AGVs can communicate with each other and inform other AGVs about their planned actions, the company said.