DRIVERLESS container transport by automated guided vehicles (AGV) is the solution to global equipment demand, including ports in Asia, says a German executive. Mr Lutz Moller, product manager of Mannesmann Demag Tottwald, said a fleet of 50 AGVs had been delivered by his company to the ECT-Delata Terminal in Rotterdam last year. ''The Port of Singapore Authority initiated a similar project, while further container hubs are known to be considering AGVs for container transport,'' he said, adding that industrial applications for AGVs were seen in many areas. The productivity of a terminal could be improved by advanced equipment, Mr Moller said. The concept of AGVs, he said, was dominated by the requirement for low operational cost and this was made possible by eliminating the cost of a driver. AGVs also provided high utilisation and flexibility which allowed the transport system to be adapted easily according to varying demands with minimal staff requirements, he added. Increasing volume or peak periods could be handled simply by enlarging the fleet of AGVs and their computer-aided operation, Mr Moller said. Other advantages included the capability of the AGVs to switch its directional mode, speeding up its operation at positioning, dead-end parking and container pre-orientation, he said. He explained that the container handling equipment formed a chain, and ''super gantries'' at the berth needed equal handling capacity in the backyard. Mr Moller said it was obvious that transport concepts based on traditional equipment did not appear to offer the ultimate solution. ''Within the logistic concept of an automated transport system for a container terminal, a fleet of automated, guided vehicles will execute driverless container transport between quay cranes, stack area and gateway centre,'' he said. The lonely driver on his dangerous ride through the container jungle did not exist anymore in the advanced concept of automated transport, he said. Mr Moller said an operator ''drove'' the whole fleet of AGVs with a computer called Fleet Control System (FCS). ''The FCS assigns transport jobs to certain AGVs and takes care of traffic control, operation monitoring, service checks and digital communication with each of the AGVs,'' he said. A communicated job briefing contained destination, route and speed details, he commented. The AGV chosen by the FCS would drive and navigate accordingly to receive or deliver its container with high accuracy in time and positioning, Mr Moller said. The accuracy of the transport system was the key to further automated handling equipment such as robotic stacking cranes, he said. After receiving an order to move, the AGV would follow a pre-determined route which was mapped within the vehicle's computer, he explained. The AGV computed its relative position by measurements of distance and steering angle, he added. Mr Moller said the positioning accuracy achieved by AGVs was within two centimetres.