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A Multi-Agent Perspective on Intermodal Transport Chains

Petra Funk; Gero Vierke; Hans-Jürgen Bürckert
DFKI, DFKI Technical Memos (TM), Vol. 98-06, 1998.


Modern production and logistics methods, such as outsourcing, depot free production or just in time delivery require efficient transport systems. Inter-connecting different modes of transport, i.e. intermodality comprises the key to this efficiency. We model an intermodal transport chain and the flows of goods within it, using multi-agent technology. Each transport operator is represented by an active software agent, capable of planning, communicating, and co-operating with the other agents in the chain. Vehicles in transit are modelled as holonic agent societies, controlled by a distinguished agent. This agent can dynamically modify existing plans, even during execution time. Intermodal transport orders are planned and monitored by an intermodal planning competence, encapsulated in an intelligent agent. This agent negotiates with the transport operator agents in the chain in order to establish a joint transport and transhipment plan. In addition it monitors the execution of this plan as a mobile agent, migrating through the telecommunications network, as the respective cargo is moved in the physical world.