TRAFCON -Traffic Control of AGVs in Automatic Warehouses
Since their introduction in the 1950s, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) have been being used more and more in manufacturing and logistics. One of their most successful applications has been in automatic warehouses where huge quantities of goods need to be moved continuously.
Due to increasing time pressures for the delivery, the number of AGVs circulating in a warehouse is constantly increasing. AGVs often share their workspace with human guided forklifts that are still needed for some specific tasks.
Thus, the problem of regulating and controlling AGV traffic is central in the AGV market, in order to insure both a high delivery rate and safety for the human guided vehicles. This problem is currently being solved using traffic rules that need to be manually tuned for each warehouse, making the installation time long and expensive.
TRAFCON falls under the Echord hyper-flexible cell scenario and the mobile manipulators and cooperation research focus. In this experiment, an academic institution, the University of Modena Reggio Emilia, and a global provider of AGV systems, Elettric80, are working together in order to develop and test on a real system a new traffic manager for AGVs. Modern control techniques are being used to improve the efficiency and flexibility of the fleet, making the installation time shorter and the cost of the system lower.