Free navigation for automated guided vehicles (AGVs)

© BÄR Automation GmbH
At a sports car manufacturer’s, automated guided vehicles freely navigate car bodies through the assembly hall instead of conventional conveyor belts.

In short

In collaboration with BÄR Automation GmbH, Fraunhofer IPA has developed an automated guided vehicle, enabling an automotive manufacturer to design his assembly processes flexibly. Consequently, cycle times and conveyors no longer determine assembly processes. Instead, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) bring car bodies from one assembly station to the next via a lifting table.


In detail

In the project, Fraunhofer IPA developed a navigation software for AGVs to navigate freely. Up till then, AGVs had always needed physical guidelines or other fixed installations to navigate. This restricts the flexibility of a system once it has been put into operation. However, thanks to the IPA software, with the aid of sensor data AGVs can now navigate accurately and reliably without requiring a special infrastructure. Thus, existing routes can be modified, or new ones integrated, e.g. if a new variant is going into production, even after the vehicles have been commissioned. Since the software’s sensor fusion module can process data from almost any type of sensor, highly-specific solutions tailored to customer requirements can be implemented. In addition, due to its modular architecture, the software can be adapted to numerous application scenarios. Through using a SLAM algorithm (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), a map no longer needs to be filed for areas that are constantly being rearranged, for example. The automated guided vehicle is successfully in use in industry in continuous operation.

Statement made by a customer

© BÄR Automation GmbH

“Thanks to the expertise Fraunhofer IPA has acquired in automation technology, we can develop ideas for tomorrow into real projects today. As an SME, the institute offers us targeted support to further develop our products. This strengthens and extends our competitiveness and assures our future success.”

Mr. Klamser, Head of Sales Management