Development of an Autonomous Mobile Towing Vehicle for Logistic Tasks
Frequently carrying high loads and performing repetitive tasks compromises the ergonomics of individuals, a recurrent scenario in hospital environments. In this paper, we design a logistic planner of a fleet of autonomous mobile robots for the automation of transporting trolleys around the hospital, which is independent of the space configuration, and robust to loss of network and deadlocks. Our robotic solution has an innovative gripping system capable of grasping and pulling non-modified standard trolleys just by coupling a plate. Robots are able to navigate autonomously, to avoid obstacles assuring the safety of operators, to identify and dock a trolley, to access charging stations and elevators, and to communicate with the latter. An interface was built allowing users to command the robots through a web server. It is shown how the proposed methodology behaves in experiments conducted at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto and Braga’s Hospital.
KeywordsMobile robot Autonomous driving Trolley docking Ergonomics
This work is financed by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation - COMPETE 2020 Programme, and by National Funds through the Portuguese funding agency, FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, within project SAICTPAC/0034/2015- POCI-01- 0145-FEDER-016418.
Authors would like to acknowledge to Trivalor, Itau and Gertal for the support of the project RDH.
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