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Interactive robotic system for unloading sea containers

The unloading of containers is one of the last non-automated activities in a highly technical transport chain. A significant proportion of imported and exported containers are unloaded or loaded in seaports. Unloading is a very time-consuming process that places high physical demands on the employees. The existing automatic and semi-automatic systems have a very low penetration rate and do not meet the demands of port operators due to high investment costs as well as high commissioning times and adaptations to the infrastructure. In addition, the systems are often stationary and relatively oversized, which makes it very difficult to change the robot's workplace. This limits the flexibility of the robot operator.

The aim of the project is to develop a novel, mobile robot for improving the efficiency of handling processes at seaports. The robot is to be used for unloading within a very short time without major adaptations to the existing operational infrastructure. In order to deal with disruptive situations as quickly and effortlessly as possible, an intuitive human-robot interaction interface is being developed. This allows employees to monitor the proper functioning of the robot and intervene in case of malfunctions, so costly system downtimes can be avoided. These interfaces can then be used from a control station, detached from the robot's place of work.

 

Watch how the interactive robot helps with unloading sea containers

One of BIBA's core competencies is the automation and support of unergonomic and strenuous activities in various industrial application scenarios. The mobile robot intends to provide a solution to relieve the burden on humans and to improve the efficiency of handling processes in ports at the same time.