BASF Ludwigshafen

BASF Ludwigshafen

1 January 2014

VDL Automated Vehicles developed and prototyped a custom AGV for this customer.

In 2014 a request from BASF at Ludwigshafen, Germany came to automate the logistics of their chemical plant. VDL Automated Vehicles developed and prototyped a custom AGV for this customer. This proto AGV is an innovative, fully automatic vehicle and a further evolution of the existing VDL AGV concept, which could only transport containers in various container terminal ports.

The new 16-axle vehicle with a length of 18 metres is the first vehicle in the world that no longer requires the surrounding area to be cordoned off or an ‘attendant’ to ride along. It is able to drive among other traffic independently, without such measures. This means that the VDL AGV makes driverless driving in a manned environment possible. The modular vehicle construction has been equiped with intelligent integration of computers, cameras, sensors and scanners. This is key to meet the standards of SIL2 safety level to be able to drive in manned areas. This AGV fits with VDL Groep’s ambition to be the top specialist in the field of heavy duty vehicle electrification.

The vehicle is also innovative in a number of other areas: it loads and unloads the cargo up to 78 tonnes itself, and with a height of 1.15 metres has an extremely low design. As a result, the vehicle can easily drive under existing pipes in the local infrastructure.

Furthermore, this concept of automated driving among manual logistics has been nominated for the Automotive Innovation Award 2017. It reached the top 3 of most innovative technologies of 2017.


They are establishing an innovation center in Singapore and are very ambitious here. Furthermore VDL has already successfully implemented similar projects in Europe.

Koen Cardon, CEO Katoen Natie Singapore

... not only the innovation itself, but also the context in which it will be implemented is focussed on. This is turnkey, due to the great interest of the automotive industry for the Dutch economy

Jan Peter Balkenende, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands

We are launching this innovative leap in logistics at the site and we are a pioneer for the entire industry

Dr. Uwe Liebelt, Site Manager BASF

VDL Groep has announced the ambition to become a world player in the electrification of so-called heavy-duty mobility. VDL also aims to take up a leading position in the field of battery management systems, charging infrastructure and energy storage.

Board of Management, VDL Groep