View Full Version : Accurate positioning of an autonomous forklift

12-30-2011, 02:00 PM
I was talking to a friend last day, and he said he's looking for a way to have accurate positioning of a forklift-like machine inside a building. The goal is to have unmanned vehicles.
I have not ideas about it, so I'm asking if you have experience or know of possible solutions.

The forklifts are handling red hot massive metal bars, so an optical path on the floor is not suitable.

Thanks in advance,

Jorge P
12-30-2011, 02:55 PM
Lookup Lego corporation, their factory is almost completely automated including forklifts. They are able automate the factory with electro magnetic tracking devices imbedded into the factory floor, not your basic line follower, but the same theory.

http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/visits/video.aspx midway through the video it hints to this, there is a more detailed explanation about the robots used in the factory but I couldn't find it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uqyJ_6vb78 at time mark 6:09 shows some of the robots a little better.

12-30-2011, 06:00 PM

12-30-2011, 08:47 PM
thanks for the links.

12-31-2011, 05:26 AM
If you can build the warehouse from scratch, then you could place active rf wire grid under the floor. The robot then positions itself, and can report it's position to command and control hosts. I believe this is what the automated container facility does in the rotordam port.

If you are doing this with an existing facility you'd paint colored lines on the floor.

Though i'd wondered if you could drill holes in the concrete floor and place those grain of rice sized RFID tags every 10 cm or so. Funny though you'd build a robot to lay this accurately on the facility floor.

Another thought would be to measure the change in magnetic fields using the iron reo in the concrete.

If there are also people in the warehouse then you need to work out how to detect them too!

12-31-2011, 06:21 AM
A grid of leaky coax embedded in the concrete floor.
An optical grid suspended below the ceiling, possibly with bar codes for position locating.
IR beacons at both ends of every aisle or at some/every intersection if the facility is very large.