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Video: Driverless Transport System Should Help With Shopping
Driverless transport systems are already used in some logistics processes because they help to implement Industry 4.0 systems. The vehicles can take their freight from A to B independently and are already being used in hospitals. The “Sally” project, led by a consortium from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), is one such transport system that can move through workshops without a driver and does not require lane guidance. Now Sally should not only be used in workshops, but also on the street.
On foot instead of by car
The background to the project is that people in inner-city traffic do not like to walk, but rather use their car to conveniently transport their shopping or luggage. Sally is said to provide the incentive to walk more ways again by carrying shopping or luggage. As a personal assistant, the project is intended to promote forms of active mobility. For the first time, the project claims to be scientifically investigating the navigation of autonomous vehicles within the free flow of people.
The project, which runs until autumn 2018, will initially investigate target-group-specific usage motifs and barriers, as well as the movement behavior of people interacting with autonomous vehicles. Dynamic 3D physics simulations and equipping the transport platform with an “artificial skin” for navigation with physical contact should support the development of movement strategies. An essential part of the research project is the development of a transport carrier for Sally that is suitable for human-robot interaction, as well as its implementation and testing in a real environment.
External influences can hardly be calculated
DS Automotion GmbH has been developing and producing driverless transport systems since 1984. As part of the consortium, the Linz-based company has been researching technologies for autonomous vehicles since autumn 2016, which are designed to relieve people who do their errands on foot.
"In contrast to the well-defined operating environment in industrial production facilities, external influences that can hardly be calculated in advance must be taken into account," explains Dr. Andreas Richtsfeld, technology and product developer at DS Automotion. "The completed forerunner project 'Transit Buddy' showed the need for research, especially with regard to autonomous driving among people." That is why the company joined the consortium led by the AIT, which is to research and clarify these problems. Other members are the Institute of Computer-aided Automation at the Vienna University of Technology, Blue Danube Robotics and the BKM Design Working Group. (kj)
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