The purpose of this project is to make a warehouse process more efficient by uising a number of novel technologies, such as: automation; advanced planning and scheduling of resources; optimised batching and slotting by machine learning; and developing drone delivery as a service.
Purpose and target
With the purpose to cut cost and increase competitiveness, the goal of the project is to make the warehouse process more efficient regarding the use of time and resources and also to increase quality and warehouse state prediction. Specifically for RISE, the task has been to develop a drone delivery service where the overall goal is to make an autonomous drone delivery flight beyond visual line of sight, BVLOS.
Regarding the drone delivery service, the challenge can be divided into a technical part and a regulatory part. The technical part concerns designing and building a reliable platform and make it fully autonomous. The regulatory part concerns challenging and getting through the process of obtaining a flight permit for flying beyond visual line of sight, only a few such permits have been granted so far.
With long experience from drone activities, a design philosophy where no shortcuts are accepted, and the level of test and verification is rigorous - a reliable and capable platform can take form. By understanding the purpose and the impact of the legislation, both hardware, software and processes and routines can be designed to fit the legislation. Through a mutual respectful dialog with the responsible authority Transportstyrelsen, the goal of a BVLOS flight permit can be achieved.
A stable drone last mile delivery platform was developed and a software layer simplifying different applications has been tested and verified: Drone Safety Service (DSS). We will continue developing the DSS and add more and more safety functions over time. We are very satisfied with the baseline and very expectant and positive when we look ahead for the next challenge.
In September we made a demonstration where we connected our drone to planning and scheduling algorithms hosted by our Italian partner Andrea Micheli at FBK (Fondazione Bruno Kessler). Our architecture enables many features, accepting connections from Italy is one of them. The demonstration was a combined software simulation and hardware demonstration: Planning and scheduling algorithms made a plan for the plant, a central executor orchestrated the simulated autonomous forking ground vehicles and the physical drone. As some simulated packages arrived on the drone dock the real drone loaded a real package and delivered according to the plans received from the algorithms. The real AGVs are demonstrated at the end customer site in Venlo, Netherlands.
At the end of the year we received the flight permit for BVLOS operations, well deserved. Two workdays later we performed the first ever autonomous food delivery flight beyond visual line of sight in Sweden.
Autonomous warehouse+last mile delivery
Drone delivery service
FBK - Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Bright Cape, University of Trento