Global leader in scene-based new energy autonomous driving, Westwell, has signed an agreement with Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe for an additional 100 battery-powered autonomous Q-Trucks – spearheading seaport smart and green operations with autonomous driving and electric trucks.
At the Port of Felixstowe, both parties will collaborate to build the largest electric autonomous commercial vehicle fleet to date, and build battery-swapping infrastructures and related services to support the operation of the fleet.
By doing so, the two parties will further advance the commercial application and value exploration of autonomous driving technology in global container ports.
Since 2018, Westwell has initiated in-depth collaboration with Hutchison Ports to introduce autonomous Q-Trucks to the daily commercial operation of Terminal D in Laem Chabang Port, Thailand, facilitating it to become the first smart port in the world under mixed mode operation between manned and unmanned internal traffic.
Throughout its development, Westwell has always maintained a ‘clients first’ approach, leveraging its technological advantages in AI and autonomous driving, along with its robust ecosystem within the industry chain, to consistently iterate on its products and services.
Through a comprehensive operational solution that encompasses complete vehicles, piloting systems, and V2X infrastructures, Westwell’s collaboration with Hutchison Ports has successfully established a global benchmark for efficiency, safety, and sustainability in port operations.
As the first international port in Europe to introduce autonomous trucks to mixed traffic container terminal operations, Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe is strategically located on the UK South East coast and within easy reach of major ports in North West continental Europe.
As the UK’s first purpose-built container-handling facility, it is also the largest and busiest container port in the country. With three rail terminals, it also has the busiest and biggest intermodal rail freight facility in the UK.
The latest phase of development, Berths 8 and 9, provides additional deep-water capacity for the world’s largest container ships.
By integrating innovative technologies of “intelligence and new energy”, Hutchison Ports aims to transform the Port of Felixstowe into a world class smart port that combines efficiency, automation, and sustainability, strengthening its presence in Europe.
Q-Truck is Westwell’s first globally self-developed intelligent swappable battery-powered unmanned commercial vehicle.
It disruptively removes the driver cabin and can be applied to multiple scenarios including sea, land and air ports, factories, etc., promoting clients’ operation efficiency and empowering them with sustainable productivity.
In 2022, Q-Truck completed its fourth model upgrade, evolving into a vehicle of 150 kilometres cruising range and 75 tonnes of loading capacity, equipped with a high standard of intelligence, safety, and adaptability, and can be deeply integrated to clients’ production scenarios.
The truck has also passed the Conformite Europeenne (CE Certification).
According to the agreement, the delivery of the first batch of Q-Trucks will commence in September 2023.
Adopting a new generation of sensor fusion architecture, Q-Truck is equipped with multiple sensors such as industrial-grade long-range high-precision binocular AI camera, LiDAR, and various other sensors.
By applying the state-of-the-art AI algorithms with a full-stack autonomous system, the vehicle demonstrates most advanced perception and capabilities. The Extreme Precision Position (EPP) System installed in the truck can help to achieve centimetre-level accurate vehicle positioning and high-precision control with a steering deviation within 0.5 degree.
With agile sensing, real-time analysis, self-decision-making and precise execution, the WellFMS (Fleet Management System), developed by Westwell, is able to manage the fleet efficiently, dispatching tasks, reducing idle time, monitoring real-time localisation, handling status data of vehicles and goods.
Q-Truck is also fully equipped with PowerOnair, a cloud-connected smart green energy service developed by Westwell. With a “vehicle-battery swapping station-cloud platform” architecture, it offers five core advantages:
- fast battery swapping;
- unmanned operation with safety guarantee;
- good environmental adaptability;
- highly modular and standardised system;
- and elevating carbon value through cloud platform.
It can assist Q-Truck in achieving autonomous battery swapping throughout the whole process, realising efficient recharging of the vehicle within 5 minutes, thereby overcoming the dual challenges of manpower and efficiency.
Westwell has effectively addressed the pain points of insufficient range and limited capacity in new energy commercial vehicles. In the case of pure green electricity, it is estimated that the new energy Q-Truck can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 tonnes per unit per year in actual production scenarios such as the Port of Felixstowe in the UK.
Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Executive Director of Hutchison Ports said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with Westwell to bring their ground-breaking and AI-driven technology to the Port of Felixstowe.
“Following the positive introduction of autonomous trucks at our terminal in Thailand and after thorough and successful testing in Felixstowe, we are rolling the system out in the UK.
“The new trucks will increase the efficiency and operational consistency of our container handling as well as making a significant contribution to decarbonising operations at the port.”
Kenny Tan, Founder and Chairman of Westwell, said: “Hutchison Ports is a significant global partner for Westwell.”
“As a world leading company in intelligent mass-logistics, Westwell, with its holistic solution in new energy autonomous driving, can help increase efficiency while reducing costs and delivering sustainable development options.
“The contract also marks a very important development of Westwell’s AInergy Strategy to utilise AI applications to reduce energy consumption and facilitate decarbonisation.
“In this respect, we will continue to explore opportunities to commercialise new developments with Hutchison Ports to equip global logistics for sustainable development,” Tan added.