Intelligent Autonomous Material Handling Forklift

Period of Performance: 02/25/1998 - 02/25/2000

$749K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Omnitech Robotics, Inc.
2640 S. Raritan Circle
Englewood, CO 80110
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

This proposal is for the development of an unmanned forklift system providing capabilities ranging from teleoperated control to semi-autonomous control of multiple forklifts. This proposal extends the capability of an existing Army fielded Skytrak forklift converted for teleoperated control developed under phase I. We will extend the tele-operated capability first to semi-autonomous control of a single fork-lift using a single operator, then extending the control to multiple forklifts simultaneously from a single operator. Our application focus will be on loading and unloading pallets to and from ISO containers in a typical Army storage depot, rail head, air head or ocean port. The primary innovation proposed is the development of an intelligent robotic vehicle control system that can take high level graphical input from a user plan and perform useful material handling operations robustly. This necessitates sensor based reactive control combined with a graphically represented task based plan embodied in the control software, resulting in intelligent behavior of the system and an ability to adapt to variations in the environment, payload, and mission. BENEFITS: Benefits include force multiplication, force conservation, and automated information gathering leading to improve material handling efficiency.