Extremely accurate location tracking solutions have unlocked the potential for sweeping improvements in the manufacturing industry. Despite this potential, the high cost of currently available solutions prohibits most companies from adopting this new technology. Visible light positioning (VLP) is an alternative to more expensive solutions that is equally accurate as well as easy and cheap to install. LEDsTrack seeks to develop an LED VLP lighting system that facilitates real-time, large-scale, IoT-based location tracking in manufacturing.
Combining VLP technology with industrial settings
Existing technologies that enable extremely accurate location tracking (< 50 cm), including RF, laser and vision control, are costly and complex to implement. VLP as an alternative enables positioning using modulated light pulses, and has multiple applications in mobile warehouse infrastructure. However, no suitable LED drivers or industry-proof VLP steering algorithms have been developed for AGV control. And in the context of forklift driving and coaching, algorithms that combine VLP location and sensor data have yet to see the light of day.
The best of digital and manual
The solution proposed by the LEDsTrack consortium will enable the accurate analysis of forklift-driving behavior and driver coaching as well as real-time workfloor safety control. Additionally, it will design cost-effective AGVs that can follow any route without need for reconfiguration. Finally, LEDsTrack will contribute to warehouse automation to boost safety, improve logistics, reduce workload and, ultimately, save on costs.
Accurate tracking and better vehicle management
Three concrete technical innovations are at the core of the project:
- a VLP-enabled LED system that complies with illumination standards and a network planning tool to estimate cost and accuracy of VLP deployments;
- a VLP receiver and backend capable of processing light from different LED sources with low latency in a real-life industrial environment, accurate within 10 cm;
- algorithms that analyze driving behavior and enable real-time feedback, along with a navigation module for VLP AGVs and a system that monitors all vehicles for streamlined logistics processes.
Growing an industrial IoT knowledge base
Collaboration partners for this project combine expertise in location tracking, lighting systems, driving behavior analysis and low-cost AGVs. Industrial partners are poised to benefit from safer workspaces, greater expertise in IoT manufacturing applications and improved driving coaching initiatives enabled by the project’s outcomes.
“The LEDsTrack project will lead to a low-cost, accurate and easy-to-implement visible light positioning system for forklifts and AGVs in an industrial environment. This results in warehouse automation, greater safety, improved cost-value ratios and lower workloads."
Real-time, large-scale location tracking in manufacturing environments
LEDsTrack is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.
It started on 01.04.2017 and is set to run until 31.03.2019.
- At the right track
- Balta Group
- Telecom IT
- imec - WAVES - UGent
- KU Leuven - DraMCo
- Project lead: Filip Gelaude
- Research lead: David Plets
- Innovation Manager: Stefan Van Baelen