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Cloud Applications

The cloud tells the robots where to go

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a cloud-based navigation technology intended to make the use of driverless transport systems (DTS) more reliable, flexible and efficient.

02 Jan. 2018
Source: Universität Stuttgart IFF/Fraunhofer IPA / Rainer Bez
Source: Universität Stuttgart IFF/Fraunhofer IPA / Rainer Bez

According to experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation (IPT), in most cases today DTS are fixed installations: They follow strict routes and must continuously record data from their environment via on-board sensors, while major restructuring operations are expensive and time-consuming.

The Fraunhofer team led by Group Leader Kai Pfeiffer has now networked all driverless transport vehicles and external laser scanners in a workshop hall via the cloud. The system calculates the paths for each individual vehicle and continuously corrects them should it register an obstacle. The experts see great potential for savings thanks to their cloud navigation: Localization precision is optimized by up to 75%. The cloud solution can be implemented on site and existing DTPs can be retrofitted. The experts believe hardware costs can also be reduced, since the vehicles require fewer sensors and less computational power.

Numerous companies such as Siemens and Kuka are also researching cloud robotics. Market research institute Research and Markets has estimated the current global market at 1.5 billion US dollars and forecasts growth up to 5.5 billion by 2022.

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