Autonomous Route Planning
How the navigation works
The navigation of the proANT aAGVs using laser scanners and intelligent vehicle controls enables a high flexibility of use. Traditional AGV systems need inductors, painted lines or reference marks to navigate. This makes them inflexible in a changing environment or when being obstructed.
Autonomous Guided Vehicles localize themselves using the immediate environment. A 2D laser scanner integrated in the vehicle steadily scans the environment (walls, machines etc.). Additionally, the proANT systems carry an odometric system which is combined with the laser scanner to increase the positioning accuracy. The odometric system monitors the travelled path using incremental encoders on the motors and angular changes of the robot’s position using a gyroscopic sensor.
When the system is first installed, a 2D map of the factory plant is scanned and mapped. Then, the map is processed on a PC. While processing, the transport sources and goals are set and the charging and parking positions are placed. Furthermore, the following fields can be defined:
- Fields in which the vehicles are not allowed to drive (i.e. in front of escape doors)
- Fields that are used as one-way paths (i.e. because the path would be too narrow for two crossing vehicles)
- Fields in which only one vehicle is allowed to roam at a time (One-AGV Area) (i.e. in front of escape doors or in crowded places)
The processed map is then uploaded to all vehicles.
When a vehicle obtains a transport order from position A to position B, it automatically calculates the optimal route. In order to avoid traffic jams, the vehicle communicates with all other vehicles in the fleet. When the vehicle encounters an unexpected obstacle (i.e. a pallet) which it cannot drive around, it automatically calculates an alternative route. If there is no alternative route, the vehicle informs the control station that the transport order cannot be processed. Depending on the application, the aAVG then transports the material back to the transport source or requests human intervention using its lights or audible signals.