An integrated software system for the modeling, simulation and control of driverless transport systems.

Driverless transport systems exist in numerous production facilities, logistics areas or in hospitals for food, medicine and laundry transportation. In the course of the current trends (Industry 4.0, SmartFactory), there will be enormous opportunities, but also new challenges, for driverless transport systems in the coming years.

More than 10 years ago DS Automotion, an established, top-level international provider of automated guided vehicle systems based in Linz, commissioned RISC Software GmbH to develop integrated planning, simulation and control software for freely navigating automated guided vehicle systems.

The main goal for the development of the new modeling and control software was to significantly reduce implementation and start-up times for production lines with driverless transport solutions.

The software to control automated guided vehicle systems was designed as a flexible, configurable standard system with efficient algorithms for scheduling the jobs, for controlling the collision-free movement of vehicles, as well as for preventing and resolving deadlock situations. By connecting system-specific extension components via generic interfaces, special requirements of specific plants and communication with external systems 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. As a result, a current, realistic simulation model is available at any time from the planning phase, for example, for a time-saving and cost-saving „virtual go-life“ or for checking subsequent adjustments or extensions of a system.

The software, which has meanwhile been successfully used in many systems of various sizes worldwide, already has numerous aspects now regarded as fundamental requirements for Industry 4.0 solutions. In the long-term and sustainable cooperation with DS Automotion, numerous innovations have been developed in several joint research projects.
The enormous progress in the field of robotics in recent years opens entirely new possibilities for the field of driverless transport systems in the future.

  • On the one hand, small, agile, very autonomous robot-like systems are increasingly used for service and transport activities (small loads).
  • On the other hand, sophisticated, cost-effective sensor solutions and tried and tested, efficient algorithms from the field of robotics will be integrated into automated guided vehicle systems.

One of the upcoming challenges to be solved is the connection and coordination of local and global intelligence into a functioning, optimally coordinated overall solution.
Image: (c) DS Automotion