Decentralized, agent-based self-control of automated guide vehicle systems

Theme Industry 4.0, Automated guided vehicles, Artificial Intelligence
Project title Decentralized, agent-based self-control of automated guide vehicle systems (FTS-Selbststeuerung)
Project duration 01.07.2011 – 30.06.2013
Press release
An Automated Guided Vehicle System (AGVS) basically consists of a control system, a communication system, devices for navigation, the vehicles and stationary and peripheral devices. The central control system is very complex, often inflexible and hardly robust against interruptions. In order to counteract the complexity of the central system, the use of agents offers. Agents are autonomous entities that make decisions according to simple rules. A decentralized system composed of agents contributes to the fault tolerance and flexibility. The aim of this research project was the development of an overall concept for a consistently decentralized control of AGVS. The concept was evaluated on a pre-defined reference scenario based on simulations. The agent system was up against a central control station and proved its skills under economic aspects (for example, on-time production, short lead times, high capacity utilization and lower inventory).

Publications about the project

Automated guided vehicle systems (AGVS) basically consist of a control station, a communication system and automated guided vehicles (AGV). Control of the AGVS has the task to carry out a transport order once it is issued by a higher level system. The transport order is implemented by the AGVS-control in an actual movement of the AGV. The number of AGV varies between a few up to 100 AGV. Due to the high number of AGV the likelihood of distraction in the route network increases. Todays central AGVS controls take into account the dynamic and evolving traffic situations inadequately and are insufficiently robust and flexible in terms of changes and disturbances .

agv, decentralzied control, automated guided vehicles

A central control of automated guided vehicle systems (AGVS) doesn’t longer satisfy the require-ments of a versatile production. With procedures from the field of artificial intelligence a control can be decentralized and made more flexible. In this way the tasks of the central control can be distributed to different entities in the system. Thus the complexity of the tasks is reduced. The present article deals with the decentralization of the AGVS control and focuses on the order allocation, route finding and conflict resolution.

agv, decentralzied control, automated guided vehicles

With automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) a trend toward intelligent, distributed systems is emerging . Here, the so-called agent technology, originally from the field of artificial intelligence play an important role. Agents are autonomous entities that make the basis of predetermined rules independent decisions. Tasks in a AGV system such as the award of transport orders or the pathfinding, can be realized by certain patterns of behavior of the agents. Together with the IPH - Institute of Integrated Production Hannover scientists of the OFFIS develop an overall concept for the decentralized self-regulation of AGV systems.

agv, decentralzied control, automated guided vehicles

The trend for automated guided vehicles (AGV) is heading from a central control to decentralization. The term of agents is becoming more important in this context. Here, software agents are used that are not related to secret service or insurances. Software agents are autonomous units that independently decide on their own, with the use of predefined rules. Thus, a decentralized control is built. Current decentralized solutions are not continuously decentralized. Vehicles share a common topology or are controlled by a central station. Together with the "OFFIS - Institut für Informatik" researchers from the IPH develop an overall concept for a decentralized self-regulated AGV.

agv, decentralzied control, automated guided vehicles


The IGF project 17237 N of the research association BVL was funded via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) in the programme of Industrial Collective Research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.


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Benjamin Küster

Manager production automation