Online gaming potential for terminals

Online gaming could help terminal development Kalmar are researching whether the cargo handling industry could create highly detailed simulation-based video games to train future industry talent. Credit: Pixabay
Industry Database

Kalmar is exploring whether online gaming could open up new ways of running and optimising a container terminal with automation in mind.

First proposed as an idea at the Kalmar Co-Create idea creation challenge held at TOC in Rotterdam this June, Jari Hämäläinen, director of terminal automation at Kalmar and solutions architect Tomi Asp, are now researching whether the cargo handling industry could create highly detailed simulation-based video games to attract and train a new generation of professionals for real operations.

They stated: “It is easy to imagine that top gamers would easily adapt to become skilled drivers of manual container handling equipment, but as terminals move towards increased levels of automation, a more relevant scenario might be to focus on the skillsets needed to control, design and optimise automated terminal operations on a wider scale.”

Real opportunity

While desktop and mobile games already make use of the concept of running a container terminal, the industry could potentially develop an open simulation/gaming environment that utilised the actual software and open application interfaces used in the real world, said Mr Hämäläinen and Mr Asp.

This concept is aided by the development of processing power, the internet’s ability to offer access to people with skills that might have wider applications in the real world and the ability of digitalisation and online culture to better connect these talents with software providers and game creators.

Mr Hämäläinen and Mr Asp explained: “In our Port 2060 workshops, we have envisioned the idea of using crowd-based operations (i.e., the best online gamers) to operate real terminals from home. Or we could build a vast, highly realistic sandbox environment that enabled tens of thousands of online gamers to explore different possibilities and issues in operating a container terminal in order to create vast amounts of data from various operational scenarios.

“This data could then be used in advanced AI and machine learning tools to learn from the game/simulation in order to better prepare for real-world operations and exceptions.

If safety aspects are taken seriously when transitioning to the real world, then the chance to hone skills without physical risk and ample time to practise mean “simulations can provide a tremendous boost in developing both skills and overall system performance,” said Mr Hämäläinen and Mr Asp.

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