Successful Autonomous Container Transport at Lineage Logistics

2 April 2024 - Toulouse, France
Goods Transportation
Written by Lineage
Driverless container transport
EasyMile’s “EZTug” autonomous terminal tractor has helped prove to Lineage that driverless vehicles can be used for transporting containers from the quai to the yard.

The pilot was part of a project set up as an open innovation system in which logistics companies, autonomous technology suppliers, authorities and research institutions jointly researched innovations in logistics. The experiment focused on the use of autonomous vehicles in combination with non-autonomous traffic. This involved testing situations that occur daily in logistics practice, such as roadworks and transport on public roads.

Not only did it test whether autonomous vehicles can be used in logistics, but it is also investigating whether autonomous transport is possible in places where the vehicles have to mix with 'ordinary' traffic. The pilot on the terrain of logistics company Lineage is now entering a new phase with the completion of the so-called Proof of Concept 2 (PoC2)

The main objective in the past period was to test whether it was possible to drive with a loaded container on the autonomous terminal truck (ATT) chassis to predefined rubber tyred gantry (RTG) transfer points. Although not all objectives were achieved in this phase, valuable information was gathered about, among other things, the transport of loaded containers, the availability and accessibility of all predefined RTG transfer points and the number of manual actions that the safety driver has to perform. Ultimately, there was a clear improvement in the speed and system stability of the vehicle.

In the recently completed phase, autonomous transport from the yard to the quai was tested on the Lineage site in Vlissingen. This was done in such a way that it seamlessly integrates with Lineage's operational processes. The research focused on how the Autonomous Terminal Truck (ATT) and its systems could be further refined, enabling an autonomous truck to safely drive in a mixed traffic container terminal. This means traffic with and without drivers mixed together. 

Thanks to the pilot, EasyMile and manufacturer Terberg now have further valuable information they need to keep improving their hardware and systems, so that these jointly-developed ATTs can add real value to this market.

Greater efficiency in the supply chain

“We were very keen to join this fantastic opportunity and on-going pilot,” said Mark Ketelaar, RVP The Netherlands, “The collaboration between Terberg, Lineage and EasyMile is crucial for the project's potential success, highlighting the importance of coordination and synergy among all stakeholders.”

The next step

The development of new potential functions has already started and the next step will be to continue testing with reversing and further automating the transport. While previous phases involved a safety driver, future phases will further test remote operation. And even with completely leaving out a person in the cabin. Extensive driving and testing under unfavorable weather conditions, such as rain and fog, will also be included in the next phase.


This article was originally published by Lineage: Successful Driverless Container Transport from Yard to Quay in Zeeland

Project Living Lab Autonomous Transport Zeeland (the “ATZ”) is partly made possible by the European Regional Development Fund, the Dutch government and the Province of Zeeland. The project started in 2022 with a Proof of Concept 1 (PoC1). This phase was successfully completed with a demonstration for all stakeholders involved. Opportunities for improvement identified during PoC1 made it necessary to start a Proof of Concept 2 (PoC2). This phase was completed in December 2023.