METRANS

11-24 Computer-Aided Container Handling Assistance for Ergonomic Crane Operation

Project Number

11-24

Project Summary

Computer-Aided Container Handling Assistance for Ergonomic Crane Operation

Project Status

Complete

Year

2011

Topic Area

Goods Movement & International Trade

P.I. Name & Address

Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; College of Engineering
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
ECS-642
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
Panadda.Marayong@csulb.edu

Co-P.I.

Professor Emeritus, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; College of Engineering
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
ECS-626
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
HY.Yeh@csulb.edu
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering; College of Engineering
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
ECS-502
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
hen-geul.yeh@csulb.edu

Project Objectives:
The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have been one of the busiest U.S. container gateways for decades. The two ports process more than 25,000 containers per day with approximately $400 billion worth of cargos being transported from worldwide locations. To improve port productivity, terminal operators must optimize the accuracy and time spent during cargo transport starting from the ships to the storage areas and out to the customers. One of the challenges of this process involves container unloading and loading using gantry cranes. This time-consuming operation is performed daily both at quayside and on the terminal yard. The efficiency of the unloading/loading operation relies solely on the skills of the crane operators, whom require extensive training and work in an extremely demanding operating condition.

The objective of this project is to conduct a feasibility study on an integration of a computer-aided guidance system to collaboratively assist the crane operator during container handling. The system consists of a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and cameras to provide coarse and fine position guidance information to aid the crane operator in loading and unloading a target container. The guidance information will be communicated to the crane operator through the means of visual, audio, and/or haptic (force and/or tactile) feedback, to be integrated in the existing operator console. The guidance will be provided as passive commands that can be overridden by the crane operator. The system can be used both on quayside cranes and gantry cranes on the yard to improve the operation efficiency and safety, while maintaining the ultimate decision making process to the crane operator.

In this project, cameras and GPS receiver's accuracy in determining the position and guidance calculation of the target container and its surrounding in conjunction with the requirements for the safety of container crane operation will be investigated. Specific attention will be given to the algorithm and sensor placement location that will best provide position and guidance information of the target container and its surrounding. The next phase of the project will focus on development of a user interface that can be easily integrated to the current operator console and cab. Specific attention will be given to evaluating appropriate feedback modalities, including visual display, haptic display, audio display, and/or their combination, that most effectively communicate the computed guidance information to the operator. The evaluation criteria include intuitiveness, ease of integration, and user's comfort.

The feasibility of the proposed motion guidance system will be studied using a scaled test-bed of containers, spreader bar, movable crane cab and cabling system. The system efficacy in computing motion guidance will be evaluated.

Tasks:
(1) Predevelopment survey
(2) Sensor selection and system integration
(3) Guidance method development
(4) Assessment
(5) Recommendation

Milestones/Dates:
(1) August 2010 – October 2010
(2) September 2010 – December 2010
(3) October 2010 – April 2011
(4) February 2011 – June 2011
(5) May 2011 – July 2011

Total Budget:
$35,000

Student Involvement:
Two graduate students, 12 months
One undergraduate student, 12 months

Relationship to Other Research Projects:
99-25, 00-15, 03-19, 07-12; part of the goods movement focus area

Technology Transfer Activities:
Project report will be posted soon

Potential Benefits of the Project:
Shared-control work paradigm allowing the crane operator ultimate control of the task, Improvement in crane operator's ergonomics and port productivity, Intuitive user interface requiring minimal additional training and accustomation, and Potential improvement in the human-machine interface for the next phase of the study.

TRB Keywords:
Freight Transportation, Terminals and Facilities

Primary Subject:
1p.2 To conduct a feasibility study on an integration of a computer-aided guidance system to collaboratively assist the crane operator during container handling.