Swarm intelligence for logistics - cellular transport systems

Autonomous AGV swarms enhance traditional warehousing and materials handling technology

Cellular intralogistics will complement classic materials handling technology and storage and retrieval systems in the future.  The vehicles developed by Fraunhofer IML and sold by Messrs. Dematic under the name of MultiShuttle Move® cover warehousing and in-plant transport processes. In contrast to all other systems currently available, this new product no longer requires continuous conveyor technology for container transportation.

Relying on a swarm of autonomous vehicles, MultiShuttle Move operates in different rack aisles and sections of the plant and connects them with each other. The vehicles move freely throughout the plant, travelling practically everywhere: underneath racks, through picking aisles and the incoming and outgoing goods departments. They head directly for their destination and are no longer restricted to fixed routes.

These vehicles are based on the components of the shelf-operating MultiShuttle vehicle, which was awarded the 2004 VDI Innovation Prize. New features include the shuttles’ mutual localisation and communication systems and their energy concept and energy management system. Using agent-based software, the vehicles interact autonomously with the lift and coordinate everything among themselves, enabling the overall system to adapt its capacity, for example, to seasonal and daily fluctuations as well as shifting capacities between warehousing and transport processes and individual sections, such as rack aisles.