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Use of the expert system platform REAKT for transport robot guidance


The main objective of the project is to develop a system that will operate mobile autonomous guided vehicles (AGV) to support transport of materials for quality checks in a car component manufacturing enterprise in the company Albert Weber (AW).

AW, acting as a user within the project team, is a specialised SME for the production of car components, in particular motors. It is characterised by varying, medium size production lots with high quality assurance requirements. Quality assurance functions demand flexible transport of selected components to a special area equipped with high performance measurement stations. Transport of the components is currently performed manually.

Mobile autonomously guided vehicles (AGV) are a key component in industrial production automation regarding the flow of materials. The advantages of AGVs are: a notorious path flexibility, and in case of finding obstacles, a detour manoeuvre can be performed avoiding interruption of the material transport. These features are needed since regular delivery of engine components to the Quality Department is essential. The consortium will use the AGV support technology developed by TZ ARS in collaboration with FH Wein.

In order to support the AGV guidance, complex planning tasks must be supported. Real time expert system technology to perform planning and control of the robot in an appropriate on-board computer is a suitable choice to support the planning tasks mentioned above, in particular for high abstraction levels like mission planning, path planning and health monitoring. For this issue the project will use the REAKT platform and methodology. The REAKT product is a software environment for developing and delivering real-time knowledge-based systems (RTKBSs). It is the result of the Esprit projects REAKT and REAKT II (P5146 and P7805) in which GMV and the Technical University of Valencia (UPV) took part. Some advantages versus competitors are guaranteed response time, very good support for temporal event description and management and a blackboard based multiagent co-operation reasoning system.

Using the experience and development of the partners, the consortium will approach the reactive level using fuzzy logic, for the higher levels the REAKT platform will be used.

Several benefits are anticipated from this project:

- AW will safeguard a higher regularity for the control of the manufactured parts, obtaining quality improvement and cost reduction which will result in an increase in competitiveness. They will automatically secure information from the system detailing the components that have been checked, and by which machine, thus avoiding the possibility of a chaotic manufacturing: therefore the information flow within the AW company and in its logistic-circuit will be clearly enhanced.
- Around 50% of the car components manufacturing enterprises, such as AW, are SMEs, with similar production logistics. Therefore this project will help to change the way the production logistics and production control in the car components manufacturing sector of the industry are performed.
- The REAKT and AGV baselines will be checked and, therefore, improvements in issues such as guaranteed response time, time manager, data fusion for the REAKT platform and a better understanding of the reactive and sensor levels for AGV will be obtained.

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Participants (3)