Software Components for a Driverless Transport System

AIC – AGV Interface Controller

The AGV interface controller translates the required material flow of the production control system into AGV transports for the supply and disposal of the machines. The transport orders are transferred directly from databases (e.g. Oracle) via appropriate interfaces and updated there during and after execution.

The current AIC status is stored in a local database and can be used by clients for evaluation/visualization.

The AGV Interface Controller collects and prioritises the incoming transport orders and then distributes them to the vehicles in the fleet. In doing so, the AIC takes into account numerous factors such as the proximity of the vehicle to the requesting machine, the battery charge level, the priority of the order according to a specific recipe, etc.

The transport orders in the AIC can be generated using many different tools. Examples are SAP, via a web interface at the workstation, by means of a light barrier, a barcode scanner or any available sensor technology. The standard interface between order generation and the AIC is a REST API.

The AIC also monitors the battery charge status of the individual vehicles and sends them for charging when the charge level falls below a set limit.

AGV database

The AGV database is used to store all relevant data of the AIC. It is therefore possible to extract many relevant performance parameters (travel time, idle time, efficiency, number of transports per route) from the AGV database for statistical analysis.

Fleet Management Server (FMS)

The fleet management server organizes the communication with the vehicles. The vehicles report their status to the FMS (e.g. state of charge, WLAN connection, localisation), as well as their current position and planned path.

The FMS also stores and manages the map of the environment in which the vehicles are driving. The FMS ensures that all vehicles in use always get the latest version of the map.

Fleet Management GUI

The Fleet Management GUI is used to operate all components of the FMS remotely. The GUI is used when a map of the hall needs to be scanned or modified. In addition, targets, sinks and loading stations can be defined on the map.
To control vehicle traffic, areas can be defined on the map whose attributes influence the driving characteristics of the transport robots (no-go area, one-way street, maximum speed, etc.).
The GUI can also be used to view the properties of the transport robots (load status, position, planned route, etc.) The Fleet Management GUI is therefore one of the most important tools for the maintenance of the proANT system.

AGV Core and AGV SPS

Both AGV components AGV Core and AGV SPS run on each vehicle. The AGV Core software runs on a fanless industrial PC and manages communication with the FMS as well as localisation and route planning. It monitors and controls the various hardware components in the vehicle (engines, lights, sensors, etc.).

Optional: Web visualization

A web visualization can be implemented to visualize the status of the vehicles. This visualization is usually shown on a large screen in the control room of the transport system. This allows a quick check of the vehicles’ state at any time.