Autonomous Forklift Tasks: The Future of Forklift Operation

25 Sep 2014, by Anthony in Forklift Training News

For years, robotics has been slowly integrating itself into production at a variety of levels. This is also true for operations in a warehouse. Recently, a new project at the Technical University of Munich has been trying to advance this practice even further. Here at ProTrainers, we actually think this is a step in the right direction. In this post, we will tell you a bit more about this project. We will list potential benefits, as well as what it means for the future of forklift operation.

Forklift Truck Eye Project

This project was about using newly developed software, coupled with sensors and cameras to operate forklifts. These forklifts were operated and tested in various warehouse scenarios and layouts. Together, these technologies allowed forklifts to sense when they were free to pick up pallets and loads. It also allowed them to understand where they were in the warehouse, in relation to where their next load was, or the overall floor plan. Obviously, this sort of system would have fantastic implications and benefits for any business where a warehouse space is utilised to store products or parts.


Research on the forklift truck eye project came up with some interesting results. They included:

Trucks being able to accurately and automatically raise the lift to the correct height and position to get certain loads.

Identification of the loads that trucks are carrying, all done automatically.

The ability to keep track of where the trucks are in the warehouse. Sensors also (as mentioned above) allow them to “understand” where they are in a warehouse in relation to other things.

Several successful test runs that show how such a system could be very beneficial to businesses and industries (more on that, next).

What It Means for Owners and Operators

The development and results of the Forklift Truck Eye Project means quite a bit for operators and owners of businesses it includes. Possible benefits of such a system include:

Less room for human error. This could reduce the amount of accidents, injuries, and safety risks.

Retrieving and dropping off loads will take less times.

Less extensive training for operators who must control forklifts (operators could possibly control a fleet of vehicles, instead of just one).

A possible cost savings for owners of warehouses.

A more successful way to handle production materials quickly and accurately with other integrated systems.


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