Unmanned trucks have undergone successful testing at the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field in the Gydan Peninsula in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO). This joint Gazprom Neft—Kamaz project has been implemented under the challenging natural and climatic conditions of the Arctic, with the support of the Government of the YNAO. The main objective of these tests is to confirm the potential effectiveness of using unmanned vehicles: something which could improve safety in transporting freight, as well as in optimising supplies to inaccessible regions.
The legislative framework for implementing this project has arisen through regulatory amendments initiated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation, directed at simplifying the basis for allowing highly-automated vehicles on public roads, and expanding the geographic scope for experimenting in testing them.
Unmanned vehicles proved their full potential as a digital resource during tests at the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field, including their ability to move along specific routes with a high degree of accuracy, exchange information through duplicate communications systems, recognise obstructions within a fraction of a second, and plot motion trajectories in live traffic conditions. Monitoring of unmanned trucks’ movements throughout the standalone oilfield, and on winter roads through the tundra of Gydan, was managed through a control centre set up at the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field, with Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye’s Logistics Innovation Centre being responsible for managing the project from Gazprom Neft’s side.
As was noted by many project participants, the main advantage of unmanned vehicles is their unlimited operational integrity. Equipped with an autonomous control system, vehicles do not get tired or worn out, and do not make mistakes — even on challenging routes, and in freezing temperatures, blizzards, or poor visibility. In comparison with manned alternatives, unmanned KAMAZ trucks are safer, and can lead to reductions in freight costs of
“Yamal is a region in which advanced innovative technologies are being deployed, including, specifically, unmanned truck controls. Automated freight transportation is much more efficient — it’s safer, and faster. Solutions like these are the future — they will, inevitably, be starting to appear across a wide range of industries. The first of these to deploy unmanned technologies will be significantly ahead of the competition in years to come.”Dmitry Artyukhov Governor of the of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
“Arctic projects form a major part of our production portfolio. We have learned to overcome the challenges involved with extreme climatic conditions, and our assets’ remoteness from developed infrastructure, developing technological and engineering solutions that are not available anywhere else in the world. We are constantly looking for new opportunities to improve efficiency and safety in oil production — including using unmanned technologies to monitor industrial facilities, and for delivering freight. Gazprom Neft is deploying these innovations together with partners in other industries, creating incentives for development in many Russian industries.”Vadim Yakovlev Deputy CEO for Exploration and Production, Gazprom Neft
“Despite the fact that unmanned technology is a relatively new phenomenon for Russia, demand for KAMAZ unmanned vehicles became apparent several years ago, and the company has been working in this area for some time. Today, industrial enterprises are becoming increasingly interested in deploying unmanned transport, and a legislative framework is gradually developing, which opens up new opportunities for us. I am sure that as legal issues —that have long restrained the production of autonomous wheeled vehicles in the country — are addressed, this issue will see further development. Having sufficient experience and potential in developing innovative vehicles with unmanned control technology, KAMAZ is ready to make its high-tech solutions available to Russian companies and support our partners in implementing their business projects.”Irek Gumerov Deputy CEO, KAMAZ PJSC
KAMAZ covered 2,500 square kilometres in the course of its Arctic road-tests, completely accident-free. Testing at Vostochno-Messoyakha allowed oil specialists to fully evaluate the potential of new technologies under genuine Arctic conditions, and to secure confirmation as to the potential for the continuous operation of unmanned cargo vehicles in undertaking typical operations at northern oilfields.
On the basis of testing outcomes, Gazprom Neft will enhance its preparations for deploying unmanned vehicles throughout its logistics processes, and will continue to be actively involved in developing a regulatory framework governing the use of unmanned vehicles at Russian oilfields.
Having tested unmanned trucks in Yamal, Gazprom Neft embarked on a similar project in Yugra, supported by the Government of the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and involving GAZ PJSC — another Russian developer of unmanned transport control technologies. Testing of unmanned vehicles commenced in April at Gazpromneft-Khantos’ Yuzhno-Priobskoye field, during the course of which a GAZelle NEXT Electro was successfully tried out — the goal here being to confirm the technology’s operability in such latitudes, taking existing connections, road coverings, and weather conditions into account and identifying areas for subsequent development. Going forward, deploying unmanned electric transport at the Yuzhno-Priobskoye field will facilitate better workplace safety, cut cots and reduce manmade environmental impacts.