The Research Council of Lithuania announced which scientific research projects to be implemented by world-class research groups won the competition and will be funded. A team of KU researchers under the leadership of prof. dr. Arūnas Andziulis, Head of the Department of Information and Statistics of the Faculty of Marine Technologies and Natural Sciences, won a grant of €695,000 for a scientific research project An Autonomous Green Port of the Future: Development of a New Container Loading Method and a Prototype of the System.
The aim of the project is to examine the possibilities of automating the port container terminal through integration of the latest smart information and communication technologies (ICT) and mechanical cargo handling equipment, optimisation of their productivity, and increasing the level of the process autonomy; moreover, in order to synchronise the cargo handling participants and operations, to develop a method of optimisation of the cargo handling processes, based on scientific principles of technology synchronisation, and by creating a conception of smart containers in the terminal through an analysis and prototyping of the developed method.
“Such a port will be managed by artificial intelligence, i.e. robots and smart devices. There will not be a single human being in the port: an autonomous boat will sail in the port, and an autonomous crane will unload the containers and transfer them to the carriers. That is a huge mechanism and very powerful and complex information technologies. There are four such ports in the world: in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and China”, said project leader prof. dr. Andziulis.
In the course of the process, scientific research will be carried out in order to create a new method leading to a more effective use of the loading technologies in the port terminal, to increase the level of autonomy of the equipment operating in the terminal during the cargo handling operations without reducing the effectiveness of the process, to assess energy costs, to propose optimal technologies and management algorithms , and to analyse the guidelines of their operation in the process of autonomous cargo handling.
According to A. Andziulis, the KU research team will rely on the experience of the four autonomous green ports in the world. “Klaipėda University has some experience in the area: doctoral dissertations have been defended and research has been carried out. Our project was submitted not so much in order to develop researcher competences, but to conduct scientific research necessary for the port of Klaipėda,” stated Arūnas Andziulis.
During the project implementation, KU scientists will have to identify which innovative cargo handling technologies will serve as a basis of the physical development of the port of Klaipėda, how new areas on the coast of the Curonian Lagoon will be used, and how a new seaport is to be built in the northern part. Therefore, as laid out in the aims and objectives of the project, the Klaipėda Seaport Authority will be provided with systematised insights on the worldwide practice of intelligent system application in ports, and new intelligent technologies of cargo handling management will be developed.
“As Klaipėda University is the only university in Lithuania that conducts research and works in the area of maritime sciences, the aim of our project is to provide industries with the latest scientific insights and opportunities to create a green port of the future in Klaipėda,” said prof. Andziulis, leader of the project Autonomous Port of the Future: Development of a New Container Loading Method and a Prototype of the System.
Ther project will be launched at the end of 2017. The KU research team will include: dr. Sergejus Jakovlevas, dr. Mindaugas Kurmis, dr. Darius Drungilas, dr. Tomas Eglynas, master‘s student Mindaugas Jusis, prof. dr. Rimantas Didžiokas, prof. dr. habil. Marijonas Bogdevičius, prof. dr. Jolanta Janutėnienė, prof. dr. Eleonora Guseinovienė, doc. dr. Audrius Senulis, and dr. Valdas Jankūnas.