Systems are needed to control forklift speed to prevent tip over. This must be done without impacting productivity. Technology is needed that can provide advance warning of hazards (earlier reaction time) and can directly limit forklift speed to assure adequate stopping distance based on location, load, vehicle type, and known hazards.
Automatic load weight display is needed for the driver, similar to the speedometer in a vehicle, that would continuously show load weight and changes in % of vehicle lifting capacity as vehicle moves, lifts, etc. (post session input from Ted Jurca, Integrated Visual Data Technology, Inc.)
Possible forklift improvements may be (post session suggestions by Rusty Smith, McCall Handling):
Driver pin-code entry into a keypad or use a card scanner mounted to each forklift to allow that driver to operate the forklift with “black box” (similar to aircraft black boxes) information on who last operated the forklift. Potential uses of this improvement may be to:
recall which operator was running the forklift after an incident occurs,
allow drivers who caused prior incidents to control the forklift at limited speeds and/or carry limited loads.
Load sensors in the seat to shutdown and ensure a forklift “park” condition when the operator leaves the seat.
Figure 2 shows an experiment performed by NIST using several 3D LIDAR imagers near the edge of a loading dock to detect both positive and negative obstacles. Figure 3 shows a color camera mounted on an extendable boom on a forklift to increase driver field of view of B56.5 standard sized obstacles when blocked by loads, bars, and chains.
Figure 2 – Data showing detection of both positive and negative obstacles using 3D LIDAR mounted to a forklift while at the edge of a loading dock. The red points are obstacles detected and the green points are detected ground.