ultra flat, ultra flexible, 
cost effective robotic pods 
to handle legacy in logistics

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The market for automatically guided vehicles in logistic applications is growing rather slowly in spite of the market potential that has been forecasted. There are markets and applications, which literally cry for automation by AGVs not only for economic, but also for socials reasons: hospitals and care facilities. Irrespective of the burning need there a major barriers, however, which prevent such automation. Two of them are cost and legacy in existing logistic solutions. Today’s hospital logistic robots are bulky, heavy, and with a price of 50+ K EUR for a single vehicle they are very expensive. At the same time these AGVs are often highly specialized and can only deal with few containers or supply carts. In a typical logistic environment there are however, dozens of different containers and such carts. In a nutshell there is a bad need for AGVs, which are low-cost and can deal with a great variety of legacy. The general objective of this proposal is to develop and implement a disruptive concept for AGVs that lowers the still existing barrier in logistics by offering

  • cost-effective, automated or semi-automated indoor transportation of goods,

  • while coping with existing legacy in terms of size, shape, and weight of goods and containers,

  • without imposing disruptive changes in existing logistic solutions, such as rebuilding entire warehouses or switching to new containers or storage technology.

We will put an equal emphasis on cost-effective as well as on human-friendly automation of logistic tasks. While cost-effectiveness shall be achieved by preferably using and adapting technology designed for mass-markets, human-friendliness shall be achieved by equipping the AGVs with a (semi-)autonomous shared control mode, in which the robot serves as a force amplifier for the human user and thereby reduces the physical strain on the user.

OBJECTIVES

Strategic objectives


Develop and implement a disruptive concept for AGVs that lowers still existing barrier in logistics by offering

cost-effective, automated or semi-automated indoor transportation of goods,
while coping with existing legacy in terms of size, shape, and weight of goods and containers,
without imposing disruptive changes in existing logistic solutions, such as rebuilding entire warehouses or switching to new containers or storage technology.

 


Technical objectives


Develop a modular mechatronic concept for an AGV that

is ultra-flat and has a height of less than 10 cm (initial prototype: max 15 cm) to fit under a logistic vehicle or container with little clearance can be configured into a formation of vehicles, which together can carry, push, or tow payloads between 100 kg up to a ton objects of arbitrary size can deal with the legacy of existing logistic solutions and can be easily deployed under arbitrary loads has an omni-directional kinematic structure i.e. can move in all directions nearly instantly can be distributed at a price which is significantly below the price of comparable vehicles.

CONSORTIUM

Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (coordinator)

AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Hospital gGmbH 

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 

Locomotec GmbH 

Speciaal Machinefabriek Ketels v.o.f 

Technical University Eindhoven 

http://ropod.org

 

 

 

 

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