The AutoPort project will unleash the potential for optimization of efficiency in short sea ports using advancement in AI Planning and Autonomy within an Operational Research framework. The Ports that we are focusing on are small (i.e., below 250 000 TEU a year) short sea ports (relatively short distances), that handle a large variety of goods.
The use of Operational Research will enable ports to include AI and Autonomy in the port organization at three different levels, the operational, the tactical and the strategic.
The operational level of the AutoPort Concept focuses on the short-term execution of tasks in the port area, i.e., optimizing the utilization of the port resources (trucks, trailers, containers, trains, ships and cranes) and flow of goods. The tactical level of the AutoPort Concept refers to medium-term management, which will be represented by a port Operation Centre Concept and its organization that is needed for the supervision of the autonomously and manually controlled port equipment, ships, vehicles and trains. The strategic level of the Autoport Concept focuses on long-term strategic investments and policies for improving port efficiency, as well as efficiency of the transport modes that meet in ports.
The AutoPort Concept will be developed according to the agile methodology principles, where the complex issue of port logistics is broken down into discrete chunks or "use cases". The use cases will be derived from the ports included as project partners, which represent the typical Norwegian public port in terms of type of goods and actors involved in port processes and terminal operations. The main needs and requirements of the actors responsible for the different operations in the transport systems will be identified and used to determine the need for individually tailored solutions for autonomy in the use cases .
AutoPort Concept will focus on how autonomy and AI can be combined with advanced Operational Research to develop the next generation of autonomous ports. The project will exploit the expert domain knowledge from the partners representing ports, technology suppliers , autonomous ship operators , terminal operator systems, and transport authorities. The AutoPort Concept consists of three main levels: i) the operational level, where Operational Research and AI planning for equipment coordination and scheduling of tasks is used, ii) the tactical level, where management tactics for flow of goods and supervision of the autonomous and manually controlled port processes are developed in an operation centre, and iii) the strategic level, where intermodal transport chains are optimized in a long-term perspective and strategies for implementing autonomy and AI are developed. AutoPort will aim at realizing a long-standing political goal in both Norway and Europe: the modal shift from road to seaborne and rail transport. This shift will enable a more efficient, safer, and more sustainable transport system. Secondly, the project aims at spurring interest in business cases for the Norwegian maritime industry based on the AutoPort Concept. The Concept will be developed in cooperation with Norwegian stakeholders, as well as with public authorities in ports, transportation, and maritime industry to make sure that the concept fits into the Norwegian decision-making framework (e.g., the National Transport Plan), as well as to be used by the industrial partners for their business cases.