The extended automated solutions offer from Toyota now includes natural navigation, an alternative method for automated trucks to navigate with the help of the environment. This navigation method utilises recognisable reference points or landmarks within the warehouse, such as walls, racking and fixed objects, to calculate the truck’s location.
Natural navigation is a lower-cost alternative for warehouses where the surroundings remain fairly constant. The truck can utilise the existing environment to navigate without the need for extra equipment such as reflectors, avoiding extra cost and installation of additional equipment.
All warehouse trucks from the Autopilot range are currently equipped with reflector navigation, a navigation method in which consistent and high-contrast targets, reflectors, are added to the environment. The reflectors installed in the warehouse allow the scanner on the automated truck to define its position based on its distance to the reflectors. The characteristics of this technique guarantee robustness, high accuracy and long reach in most environments.
A unique benefit of Autopilot trucks from Toyota is the fact that the navigation system can support either reflector or natural navigation, but also both. In case of dual navigation, one area of the layout uses the warehouse environment as a reference, while another area uses reflectors, which allows the Autopilot to switch seamlessly between natural and reflector navigation. This is possible thanks to the laser scanner, which is identical in natural and dual navigation, so reflectors can simply be added to the environment in order to convert it to a dual navigation system.
“We are excited to introduce this navigation method to our range which allows us to support our customers with a wider offer and more cost-effective automation solutions. We are also unique in offering a combination of two types of navigation in one system,” says Hans Larsson, Director Logistics Solutions at Toyota Material Handling Europe.
Natural navigation will be available on all Autopilot models as of May 2017. Natural navigation will be launched and demonstrated at LogiMAT in Stuttgart between 14 and 16 March 2017.