MAN Truck & Bus

Fully automated truck from MAN Truck & Bus in the container terminal

Testing of Terminal 4.0


Project ANITA received its go-ahead at the start of July 2020: this not only involves a fully automated MAN truck contributing to more flexible container handling at the DUSS terminal in Ulm, but also advances digitisation in combined transport.

ANITA is under way! Over the next 39 months, MAN Truck & Bus together with Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting KG are engaged in a further forward-looking project to automate the transport process. It is called "Autonome Innovation im Terminalablauf" (ANITA) [Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Procedures]. Yet again, MAN is involved in pursuing the goal of developing and testing innovative technologies in a real customer environment. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is promoting the ANITA project.

Objective: the fully automated MAN truck will move around the DB Intermodal Services container depot and the DUSS terminal at the Ulm Dornstadt site, whilst a safety driver will accompany all tests (DUSS = Deutsche Umschlaggesellschaft Schiene-Straße mbH). The operation will be tested under real conditions, experienced crane drivers will be responsible for handling the containers.

Creation of the digital infrastructure

This initially required the digital infrastructure and all the interfaces to be created at the terminal, which commenced operations in 2005. Its rail network is connected to the main Stuttgart–Munich track and it can also be reached via the Ulm West exit from the A8 motorway and national roads.

Trucks that drive autonomously at the terminal are a first, but important step in the direction of Terminal 4.0.

Dr. Sigrid Nikutta
DB board member for freight transport

DUSS Terminal Ulm-Dornstadt
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More efficient container handling: MAN Truck & Bus, Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting KG are using the site at Ulm Dornstadt to test automated transportation.

The algorithms required for locating and detecting obstacles were developed by Götting KG. Fresenius University of Applied Sciences provided the analysis of human and machine behaviour at the terminal site. Their task is also to ensure that truck and terminal find a common language by transferring their findings into digital processes and sets of rules that ensure smooth and secure communication.

Automated driving between hubs is getting closer

Combined transport – the linking of road, rail and/or water – is a powerful growth factor in goods traffic and the key to successful traffic transformation at Deutsche Bahn. Faster and more flexible container handling is therefore entirely in keeping with its needs, as stressed by Dr Sigrid Nikutta, DB board member for freight transport: "It involves us using digitisation, like in the ANITA project: trucks that drive autonomously at the terminal are a first, but important step in the direction of Terminal 4.0."

Dr Frederik Zohm, research and development board member at MAN Truck & Bus SE, is also certain about ANITA. He is relying on gathering further valuable experience of using autonomous vehicles for container handling at a terminal site: "After our extremely successful platooning project with DB Schenker AG and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, ANITA represents the next important step on the path to automated driving in hub to hub applications – a further milestone in our MAN Automation Roadmap."

Text   Susanne Löw
Photos   MAN, DUSS


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