In the logistics sector, more and more automation is being developed to increase productivity and reduce costs. More and more autonomous Vehicles (AGVs) are being used to automate logistics business processes where large distances are travelled. The first generation AGVs was bound by a physical infrastructure, such as magnets, radio beacons and/or lasers. The next-generation AGVs use advanced sensors and software to determine the relative movement compared to the floor and absolute location of the AGV.
However, this technology is still in its infancy and is custom-made. Business processes, building and flooring are designed around the AGVs, which requires technical operation support from the AGV supplier. Technical support comes at very high cost, making AGV solutions profitable only on a large scale. However, there is a sharp increase in demand for small-scale AGV solutions from the market for service robots that can carry out logistical work.
Accerion and Nobleo Technology will develop the Plug & Play AGV in this project: a physical box with hardware and software, which turns an electrically powered vehicle (EV) into an AGV, where the end user can quickly and independently configure the AGV in different environments and for different applications.
The project partners will develop a Plug & Play AGV box with hardware and software based on previously developed prototypes and Proofs-of-Concept:
- Plug & Play sensor box: Development of small and light box with sensors and software to accurately determine relative displacement for logistics & production automation on different floorings
- Automatic installation & configuration: Development of AGV platform (i.c.m. the sensor box) and user-friendly interface for easy installation and configuration by end user
- Robust autonomy: Development of interference protocols so AGV can operate autonomously and without interaction with the end user
Accerion (Venlo) and Nobleo Technology (Eindhoven) and will be able to provide the rapidly growing demand for profitable service robots with the development of the Plug & Play AGV.
Nobleo has a high demand for the self-developed AGV platform with sensor fusion: an AGV platform that processes data from different sensors into a generic control for the AGV. However, small-scale applications are not profitable, due to excessive manual installation and configuration costs. Accerion encounters the same problem with its own developed first-generation sensor box, which is also too large and heavy for usually light service robots.
With this cooperation project, these two relatively young companies from the TOPcluster HTSM can grow rapidly. They will unlock the new market of service robots, which can automate logistics work in different sectors.
This project will receive co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of OPZuid.