Driverless transportation systems sort new vehicles for loading onto rail wagons
Audi is the winner of the VDA Logistics Award 2017. The auto maker scooped the prize for a driverless transportation system that largely automates vehicle dispatch after production. The autonomous system was taken into regular service in Ingolstadt at the beginning of this year. Parking robots called “Ray” sort up to 2,000 cars per day ready for loading onto rail freight wagons.
Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed during the award ceremony held at the Forum Automotive Logistics in Bremen: “Our industry lives from innovative solutions like this one. Our Logistics Award pays tribute to especially creative concepts that can spur other companies on. Digitization and connectivity in production – and throughout the value chain – represent a huge challenge for our industry. Ideas like this prize-winning design demonstrate clearly that the German automotive industry is a leader in this field, too.”
“Driverless transport systems are a core technology for smart factories,” said Prof. Hubert Waltl, member of the Board of Management for production and logistics at Audi AG. “Their flexible navigation also makes vehicle dispatch more efficient. The Ray driverless transport system is now in regular use in the Ingolstadt plant. We will transfer the concept to other processes and facilities.”
Currently twelve parking robots are deployed at Audi’s main plant in Ingolstadt. They transport finished new vehicles autonomously from the production area to the site for railway dispatch. The robot, which is around six meters long and three meters wide, uses laser sensors to determine the position and dimensions of a car, and adjusts itself accordingly. Then it carefully lifts the car. A central control system assigns the robot a space where for parking the car via the shortest route. As soon as there are enough vehicles for the same destination, a robot prepares them for loading onto the rail wagons. The driverless transport systems make up to 8,000 movements per day and cover around 500 kilometers. They even replace their own batteries: when the battery gets low, the robot goes to the fully automated replacement station in good time, and another specialized robot exchanges the battery for a fresh one in just a few minutes. The cooperation partner for the new system is the Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems.
A video about Ray is available here: https://www.audi-mediacenter.com/de/audimediatv/3405