Control of Automated Guided Vehicle Systems
The original goal at the beginning of the cooperation more than 10 years ago was the development of a new business area for the new generation of driverless vehicles: the use of free ranging driverless vehicles should be profitable for small and medium-sized systems (having from 1 to15 vehicles).
Therefore, the main challenges in the development of the new modeling and control software for free ranging AGVs were to significantly reduce the implementation and start-up times.
The software to control automated guided vehicle systems has been designed as a flexible, configurable standard system with efficient algorithms for scheduling the jobs, for controlling the collision-free movement of vehicles, and for preventing and resolving deadlock situations. By connecting system-specific extension components via generic interfaces, special requirements of specific plants can be easily managed.
A central concept of the new software system was the development of an integrated simulation environment for AGV systems that uses the driving course design of a concrete plant for the automatic generation of a very realistic simulation model.
The software that controls and manages the vehicles in actual planning and operation can be used directly without modification to control the simulated vehicles. Thus, this highly realistic simulation environment can be used in a time- and cost-saving manner, not only in the planning phase, but also particularly for the „virtual go-live“ of plant-specific extensions.
After the software system for automated guided vehicle systems jointly developed by RISC and DS had proven very successful in many small and medium-sized plants across Europe, the enormous benefits of this software system were made available in further development phases for track-guided and large facilities as well.
Extensive enhancements are currently being developed to use the software system for controlling driverless transport vehicles in hospitals. The driverless transport system takes over, amongst others, the transport handling of food, medicines and clothes.
In the long-term and sustainable cooperation with DS Automotion, numerous innovations have been developed in several joint research projects. The next planned steps are the development of special disposition concepts aimed at further increasing the throughput and reducing energy consumption.