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Prototype of a small autonomous vehicle

AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) navigation involves the use of technology and software to guide and control vehicles that move materials or products in a warehouse or manufacturing environment. AGVs are equipped with sensors, cameras, and other technologies that enable them to navigate their environment, detect obstacles, and follow predetermined paths.

There are several methods of AGV navigation, including:

  1. Laser-guided navigation: AGVs use lasers to detect reflectors placed along their path, which they use to determine their location and navigate.

  2. Magnetic guidance: AGVs follow magnetic tape or wires embedded in the floor, which they use to navigate and stay on their path.

  3. Vision-based navigation: AGVs use cameras and image recognition software to detect features in their environment, such as lines on the floor or landmarks, which they use to navigate.

  4. Inertial navigation: AGVs use sensors to detect their acceleration and rotation, which they use to determine their position and navigate.

  5. RFID navigation: AGVs use RFID tags placed on the floor to determine their location and navigate.

The choice of navigation method depends on the specific requirements of the application and the environment in which the AGVs will operate.

Prototype of a small autonomous vehicle (AGV) saw through the stereo camera used for the navigation. The development of an inexpensive AGV, but high performing, for small businesses and the light industry, allows for almost unlimited applications.

Artificial Intelligence is playing an essential role in the robot vision.

Combining machine learning (branch of artificial intelligence) and robot vision is enabling robots to navigate in complex environments. In the past AGVs were been very limited in their ability to move around an environment. They were programmed to execute a specific path, often guided by signals such as magnetic strips or lasers from devices installed specifically for that purpose. Past AGVs are moreover limited in their ability to respond to unexpected obstacles, not able to identify an alternative route.

Combining machine learning and robot vision results in the ability for a robot to go from one point to another autonomously. The robot uses a preprogrammed map of the environment, or can build a map in real time. It can identify its location within an environment, plan a path to the desired endpoint, sensing obstacles and changing its planned path in real time.

autonomous vehicle software

Technology to help find your way.

Robot navigation requires specific techniques for guiding a mobile robot to the desired destination. This project presents a new approach for autonomous navigation using machine learning techniques such as Convolutional Neural Network to identify markers from images and Robot Operating System and Object Position Discovery system to navigate towards these markers.

Lidar and stereo cameras are two popular sensor technologies used for AGV navigation. Lidar sensors use laser beams to detect and measure distances to surrounding objects, while stereo cameras use two cameras to create a 3D view of the environment by analyzing the differences in the images captured by each camera.

When used together, lidar and stereo cameras can provide a more comprehensive view of the environment and improve the accuracy of AGV navigation. Lidar sensors are particularly useful for detecting obstacles, such as walls or shelves, while stereo cameras can provide more detailed information about the structure of the environment and the position of objects.

Use ROS and other tools to create your project.

ROS (Robot Operating System) is a popular open-source framework for building robotic applications. ROS provides a rich set of tools and libraries for developing, simulating, and testing robot navigation systems. In ROS, AGV navigation is typically accomplished using the Navigation Stack, a collection of ROS packages that provide the necessary software components for creating a fully autonomous navigation system.

The Navigation Stack includes several key components:

  1. Localization: This component is responsible for determining the robot’s current position in the environment. This is typically achieved using sensors such as laser range finders or cameras, combined with algorithms such as SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).

  2. Mapping: This component is responsible for building a map of the environment in which the robot will operate. This is typically accomplished using sensors such as laser range finders or cameras, combined with algorithms such as SLAM.

  3. Path Planning: This component is responsible for generating a path from the robot’s current location to its desired destination, while avoiding obstacles and other hazards in the environment.

  4. Motion Control: This component is responsible for executing the generated path and controlling the robot’s movement to reach the destination.

ROS provides a variety of navigation algorithms and methods, including those mentioned earlier such as laser-guided, magnetic guidance, vision-based, inertial, and RFID navigation. The choice of navigation method depends on the specific requirements of the application and the environment in which the AGVs will operate. The Navigation Stack is highly configurable, allowing developers to fine-tune the parameters and algorithms to optimize performance for their specific application.

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AGV navigation using AI (Artificial Intelligence) involves the use of machine learning algorithms and techniques to enable the AGVs to navigate their environment and make decisions based on the data they collect. AI-powered AGVs can learn from their experiences and adapt to changing environments or new tasks, making them more efficient and flexible than traditional AGVs.

One common approach to AI-powered AGV navigation is using deep learning algorithms to process sensor data such as laser range finders, cameras, or lidar. These algorithms can identify patterns and features in the sensor data, such as obstacles, paths, or landmarks, and use this information to navigate the AGVs through the environment. Reinforcement learning is another AI technique that can be used to train AGVs to learn the optimal paths and behaviors for different tasks.

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AI-powered AGV navigation also involves using software to analyze and optimize the performance of the AGVs. For example, machine learning algorithms can be used to predict maintenance needs or identify potential issues before they occur, reducing downtime and improving the reliability of the AGVs.