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sensors aimed in all four directions. A vehicle approaching the intersection is detected and triggers the appropriate warning light.

Further complication exists when both AGV’s and forklifts operate in the same space. One company provides accurate and reliable tracking of forklifts, AGV’s and other industrial vehicles inside buildings in real time to an accuracy of 5-20 cm using onboard vehicle vision to view 2D barcodes mounted to the facility ceiling. Important to many safety applications, indoor position systems determine the instantaneous speed and orientation (heading or direction of travel) of each tracked vehicle.

Several sensors, logistical aspects and tasks are needed to bridge between manned and driverless vehicles as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Drawing showing sensors, logistical aspects and tasks needed to bridge between manned and driverless vehicles

In facilities where autonomous vehicles are used, a different set of safety requirements exists. Autonomous vehicle control systems must assure that inter-vehicular collisions are prevented, and the vehicles must be equipped with safety devices to prevent collisions with people or equipment. The current ANSI/ITSDF B56.5 standard is being improved to include noncontact safety sensors that detect standard-sized objects with specific reflectivity in the path of automated and manned industrial vehicles with automated functions. Two dimensional (2D) laser distance and ranging (LADAR) sensors are currently being used on some forklifts to assist driver field of view and on many automated guided vehicles (AGV’s) to detect obstacles in the vehicle path. 2D LADAR measures range to obstacles along a plane. These sensors work well but are limited by their 2D measurement capabilities. Three dimensional (3D) imaging is needed for viewing overhanging obstacles in the vehicle path. 3D light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors are an upcoming sensor technology being studied and proposed for use on both forklifts and AGV’s. Stereo vision is now in use on some AGV’s to provide 3D viewing.

4

Discussions and Recommendations to Further Improve Forklift Safety

Group Discussion Discussions among

the

session

attendees

addressed

manned

forklifts

and

AGV’s,

as

well

as

pedestrians

near

vehicles, where all three can occupy the same material handling environment. This section provides a summarized transcript of the discussion portion of the session called: “Recommendations Towards Next Generation Forklifts to

be Safe.”

Every facility is dramatically different but, the same types of safety steps can still be taken. There is worry because of cost that the forklift industry will be forced to install scanners on forklifts. There are things that can be done today for using the intelligence of the onboard forklift controls more than how they’re currently being used. These things are not being done today because customers are not asking for them. The reason is because customers want

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