Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Autonomous trucks for logistics centers

04.07.2018

Spatially demarcated areas such as company premises are ideal test areas for autonomous driving: the vehicles do not require road registration, traffic is manageable, other people who use the road are informed and unauthorized individuals are not allowed access. In the collaborative project AutoTruck, Fraunhofer is cooperating with industry to develop technologies for autonomous trucks in logistics centers. The results also inform the research on self-driving vehicles for normal road traffic.

Tired and exhausted from the long route, the truck driver arrives at the depot. However, instead of driving the vehicle to the loading ramp, waiting there until it is fully loaded and then parking the truck in the parking lot, the driver can enjoy his well-deserved after-work hours earlier: he already leaves at the gate to the depot – the truck does everything else by itself. In other words: it drives independently to the loading ramp, waits until it is loaded and then parks in the parking lot.


The truck drives independently to the loading ramp and waits until it is loaded.

(c) Fraunhofer IVI


Handover of an autonomous truck.

(c) Fraunhofer IVI

Autonomous vehicles in automation zones

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI are making this possible in cooperation with various industrial partners in the AutoTruck project. The researchers have deliberately set their sights on automation zones, such as mines, truck depots, ports and company premises.

In contrast to autonomous driving on the road, self-driving vehicles in such demarcated areas can be more effectively controlled: the people who circulate there can be instructed in advance, and access is not permitted to unauthorized individuals. In addition, the autonomous vehicles do not need any road registration there, but rather only machine approval. At a maximum of 15 to 20 kilometers per hour, the speeds are significantly lower than in road traffic.

"Compared to road traffic, specially equipped automation zones have a decisive advantage: autonomous vehicles ready for registration will be able to be used there in the near future," says Dr. Sebastian Wagner, Group Manager at the Fraunhofer IVI. "It’s true that controlled conditions prevail in these spatially delimited areas. Nevertheless, key challenges have to be solved here, as well, that are relevant and transferable for public road traffic."

Of course, this is not the only motivation: the autonomously driving vehicles provide numerous advantages for the operators of depots and the like. On the one hand, they can counteract the demographic change, since it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit truck drivers. In addition, the autonomous vehicles would be able to operate day and night, making fewer mistakes along with lowering the number of accidents as well as the costs. The technologies developed in the AutoTruck project will be demonstrated and further developed at the depot of the project partner Emons Spedition GmbH.

Centerpiece: Online control center

At the heart of the Fraunhofer development is an online control center, more precisely the HelyOS system, short for "highly efficient online yard operating system". This can be operated via standard Internet browsers worldwide. Therefore, instead of having to employ one driver in each truck, a single operator can, for example, control 30 vehicles in Munich or even 50 in Dresden.

The vehicles are displayed on a digital map on the Internet – if desired, the operator can also superimpose maps from a survey office. In the control room, he can not only see where the individual vehicles are located, but also monitor them and retrieve status information, such as battery level, loading condition, etc.

And: He can send missions and work orders to the vehicles, such as by clicking on a target position on the map. With such a click, the control center starts the live maneuver planning TruckTrix, which was also developed by the Fraunhofer IVI. TruckTrix calculates the complete path along which the truck is to travel.

The system not only takes into account the geometry of the vehicle, but also fixed obstacles as well as the routes of other autonomous vehicles. In order to be able to take the fixed obstacles into consideration, the researchers have extended the maps with the corresponding information as well as with information concerning where driveable areas are located. TruckTrix is available as an online service via an interface for users and customers.

The calculated routes are sent to the trucks in which Fraunhofer IVI researchers have integrated standard electrical controls. Control algorithms, also from the Fraunhofer IVI, control the drive and the steering in such a way that the target and actual positions always coincide. The tracking system of the lead partner Götting KG continuously determines where the truck is located in the automation zone.

In the spring of 2018, a truck that had been converted for electric drive by the partners was handed over to the Fraunhofer IVI. The electric motor is powered by 305 kilowatts of continuous power from lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. Within the next months, the Fraunhofer IVI researchers plan to install further components, such as sensors, actuators and control devices, for autonomous driving. In a little more than a year, the vehicle will make its first independent trip.

"Many of the developed technologies can be transferred to public road traffic in the medium to long term," says Wagner, "such as the control algorithms, obstacle detection, the locating solution or the communication between truck and infrastructure."

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2018/July/autonomous-trucks-for...

Elke Sähn | Fraunhofer Research News

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Marine Skin dives deeper for better monitoring
23.04.2019 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

nachricht CubeSats prove their worth for scientific missions
17.04.2019 | American Physical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Marine Skin dives deeper for better monitoring

23.04.2019 | Information Technology

Geomagnetic jerks finally reproduced and explained

23.04.2019 | Earth Sciences

Overlooked molecular machine in cell nucleus may hold key to treating aggressive leukemia

23.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>