Universal fleet management systems making life easier and safer
Think about e.g. a large, globally operating manufacturing company, their production, warehouses and yard areas. Having a dozen or even more different automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) operating on site in intralogistics, inspection and maintenance. Then, think about managers and users of the AGVs and AMRs. They have a different system they log in and different user interface they use with each machine. They have a fleet of various autonomously moving machines, but no overview of the whole fleet let along means to plan operation and control the fleet via a single system and user interface.
What if we could make life easier and safer when using AGVs and AMRs?
Navitec Systems is a company that develops and offers fleet management systems for AGVs, AMRs and other autonomous machines and vehicles. Fleet management systems include interfaces between robots, sensors and its operator enabling mapping, route and mission planning and every-day use of robots. In MURO project, Navitec developed their solution further in order to control heterogeneous robot fleets. MURO companies integrated an AGV and three AMRs into Navitec’s Fleet Control with interfaces complying VDA 5050 standard. A common trial in K. Hartwall in summer 2022 proved successful integration of the AGV and AMRs into the system and autonomous navigation of the fleet.
The identified benefits and challenges related to universal fleet management were (Hakanen et al., 2022):
· Easy and efficient use of different robots via one centralised system and user interface
· Efficient service operations through robot fleet level optimisation
· Safety of service operations in e.g. internal logistics
· Common interfaces selection and implementation
· Robots’ varying capabilities, navigation modes (free vs. fixed routes), maps and dimensions
· Vendor lock-in risk perceived by the business customers
· Slow pace of implementation of standardised interfaces in robot companies
· Operating heterogeneous fleets may bring up some new emerging safety risks or liability issues
Reference: Hakanen Taru, Kemppi Paul, Salo Minna, Rantala Tuija, Ålander Aleksi, Liski Toni (2022). Fleet management of heterogeneous multi-purpose mobile robot fleets ─ benefits and challenges. Proceedings in the 6th World Conference on Production and Operations Management - P&OM 2022.