April 19, Qingdao - On April 18th, a L4 level autonomous FAW Jiefang J7 series was successfully tested at the Qingdao Port Container Terminal. The new-generation commercial heavy truck Jiefang J7, equipped with a L4 autonomous driving system, demonstrated operations in an unmanned state. It accurately and efficiently completed all stages of standard port operations, including automatic loading, driving, steering, parking, and unloading. This event was the first commercial operation of an autonomous vehicle in a real port environment, reaching a new milestone for the commercial development of smart driving. The event also highlighted that the trend towards intelligent automation of container terminals continues to gain momentum. As a strategic partner of FAW Jiefang, PlusAI provided exclusive driverless technical support for the release of the vehicle.
Parking error of plus or minus 2 cm, PlusAI L4 autonomous driving bolsters Jiefang J7 port operations
The Jiefang J7 commercial heavy truck, equipped with PlusAI’s L4 autonomous driving, demonstrated a port field operation system that can automatically plan the trajectory, detect and avoid obstacles, monitor the loading status, audit the amount of gas, design driving trajectories, and drive to the gas station to refuel. The system can flexibly handle the operations needs of different ports, and the demonstration truck accurately and efficiently completed a series of actions such as automatic loading, driving, steering, parking, and unloading.
The design of gantry cranes impose demanding requirements for port operations. Heavy trucks must be parked accurately under the spreader, and the front-to-rear error cannot exceed five centimeters. The steel cage structure of the bridge crane also complicates the precision parking requirements, because it prevents the satellite navigation system from accurately pinpointing the truck’s location. PlusAI’s precision positioning and control system perfectly integrates deep learning visual algorithms, using advanced lane detection, LiDar (laser detection and measurement), SLAM (instant positioning and map building) and other solutions. The autonomous Jiefang J7 demonstrated precision parking with an error of plus or minus two centimeters.
Safely and smoothly driving to the bridge crane unloader is another important challenge for driverless operations, particularly due to the large trailer and changing loads. PlusAI’s self-developed intelligent heavy truck control program absorbs and imitates the control methods of senior drivers in the port, simultaneously taking attributes of cars and roads into consideration. This ensures that the Jiefang J7 truck strictly complies with the port specifications during the driving process and smoothly enters and exits the column area, quayside, and other difficult driving areas. PlusAI’s driverless solution also includes obstacle detection and tracking algorithms based on visual perception and multiple sensor fusions, providing cost-effective, all-weather, and multi-operating obstacle avoidance functions. Compared with manned port operation, these technologies will significantly improve the security, accuracy and handling efficiency of the entire process.
Targeting the drawbacks of current logistics industry, unmanned heavy trucks lead the future of port intelligence
In recent years, the pressure on China’s port and terminal logistics infrastructure has been increasing along with the increasing prosperity of China’s import and export trade, leading to a need for transformational changes. Every port is working to identify solutions that maintain 24-hour efficient, safe and accurate operations. FAW Jiefang decided to collaborate with PlusAI to launch unmanned heavy trucks to solve these challenges for port logistics and to steer China’s logistics industry towards the fast lane of intelligent development.
Qiu Xiandong, FAW Group Deputy General Manager and a member of the Standing Committee of the Party of FAW Group, stated in his speech that FAW Jiefang has never stopped on the road to industrial advancement and national service. The Jiefang Series 7 heavy truck with L4 autonomous driving is the latest achievement, building on more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing experience and systems integration of intelligent technology. FAW Jiefang will create a new operating model for the logistics industry through deep applications of intelligent network-linked technology, helping lead the transformation of China’s auto and logistics industries.
Dr. Liu Wanqian, CEO of PlusAI, said “PlusAI is committed to transformation of the vehicle and logistics industries, using artificial intelligence as a technological engine. PlusAI has L4 autonomous driving abilities based on high-precision mapping, deep learning perception, path planning, control, and other technologies. Our cooperation with the heavy truck industry’s leader, FAW Group, demonstrates the combined success we can achieve in promoting the development of intelligent driving and smart ports.”
Founded in Silicon Valley, PlusAI is a fast-growing international technology innovation company, powered by artificial intelligence and focused on smart driving. In March 2017, PlusAI became one of the first companies to obtain a license for autonomous driving test in California, and soon after it launched partnerships with auto companies such as FAW Jiefang, SAIC, Chery, Zoomlion, and other auto companies to promote autonomous driving. Currently it has the industry’s leading L4 autonomous driving solution for heavy trucks. PlusAI has R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an. More than 90% are R&D personnel. PlusAI has assembled a team of top-tier artificial intelligence and deep learning experts.
In March 2018, PlusAI and FAW Group announced that they had reached a strategic partnership for commercialization of intelligent vehicles. Both will jointly promote the industrialization of intelligent commercial vehicles. According to the agreement, both parties will use their technical expertise to jointly establish a project team for smart driving commercial vehicles. The agreement focuses on exploring the development of commercialized autonomous vehicles applied to expressways, limited areas and other scenarios. In addition, both sides will conduct in-depth cooperation in the field of basic research on autonomous driving. In the future, both parties will jointly promote the testing and operation of autonomous driving commercial vehicle products.