Autonomous vehicles are becoming key components in industrial automation. A key area of application is construction site and quarry management. Automation of wheel loaders and excavators is being spearheaded by Volvo CE, which has recently announced product prototypes in both categories.
Autonomous machines will enable the construction sites and quarries of the future to be fully automated. This will deliver significant cost benefits for site managers. An automated site also allows managers to regulate important metrics such as the production rate of a quarry. These applications provide a solution to fleet management problems, i.e. allocating machines to perform the appropriate operations at the appropriate time, and following appropriate paths, while minimizing interference between machines.
Volvo CE is contributing this category of application scenarios to Semantic Robots. Researchers from Örebro University are producing motion planning, coordination and task allocation solutions that address the needs of such scenarios. A key research challenge here is the integration of motion planning, coordination and control for fleets of autonomous machines.