Mapping with SLAM: the first step to automating warehouse operations

The e-commerce market has exploded in the past two years and is expected to quadruple by 2023. Warehouse operators are accelerating automation plans to leverage this stratospheric growth. And as they look to expand, they need solid technology platforms to give them a competitive advantage, starting with a mobile robot fleet and a mapped environment to guide those robots in their high-performance operations.

Figuratively speaking, to get anywhere, you need a map. This is literally true for mobile robots, and this is where SLAM comes in.

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping – or SLAM – is a method used to create a map of an environment while localizing a moving mobile robot in the environment at the same time. SLAM is a method, a system of components that requires an odometry source and a global perception system.

Accerion’s customers, including warehouse operators, e-commerce companies and manufacturers, use SLAM to create a map for their mobile robots and fleets for specific operations. This is to ensure a bounded global accuracy while mapping the floor in a large operational area.

There is a variety of tools available to create maps using SLAM. Operators mapping for the first time are free to choose any tools they wish in their SLAM application. Some use 2D Lidar, 3D Lidar, reflectors or cameras, depending on the type of map they wish to create. Warehouse operators often use Triton, Accerion’s localization system for mobile robots, to map their environments.

First, the floor is mapped using a mobile robot. As the floor is mapped, virtual lines of references from the existing floor surface are created by the Triton sensor.

What happens after mapping?

Mapping is the first step, and after the mapping is complete, you no longer need SLAM. All you need is Triton.

How does Triton work?

Consisting of an optical positioning sensor, an integrated processing unit and Accerion’s highly advanced algorithms, Triton localizes itself using the floor map, ensuring state-of-art repeatability in positioning.

Accerion uses computer vision so mobile robots operate accurately and reliably in high-performance intralogistics operations. Once the floor is mapped, the Triton sensor can do pure localization and provide pose corrections out of the box using only the floor.

By using vision to map the micro-texture landmarks of the existing warehouse floor, Triton measures pure displacement, allowing mobile robots to move with sub-millimeter accuracy at high speeds of 1.5 to 2 meters per second. Triton is extremely sensitive to the movement of the robot in any direction, which means it also works seamlessly in dynamic environments such as parcel sortation operations.

For the end-user, Triton is used effectively in high performance applications such as inbound logistics, replenishment of picking stock, Goods to Person, Person to Goods, load consolidation/marshalling and further in the supply chain, parcel sortation. For all applications, Triton’s sub-millimeter repeat accuracy results in faster AMR driving, faster docking and more effective fleet operation.

Triton turns mobile robots into high-performance, highly accurate and robust autonomous vehicles without infrastructure, and our low-cost hardware and powerful software bring flexibility and cost savings to the industry.

Accerion is not only accelerating industrial automation with our positioning technology, but we’re also setting the standard for mobile robot guidance.