Real-World Issues in Warehouse Navigation
NAVAL COMMAND CONTROL AND OCEAN SURVEILLANCE CENTER RDT AND E DIV SAN DIEGO CA
Pagination or Media Count:
The MDARS security robotics program has successfully demonstrated the simultaneous control of multiple robots autonomously navigating within an industrial warehouse environment. This real-world warehouse system installation required adapting a navigational paradigm designed for highly structured environments such as office corridors with smooth walls and regularly spaced doorways to a semi-structured warehouse environment with few walls and within which odd-shaped objects unpredictably move about from day to day. A number of challenges some expected and others unexpected were encountered during this transfer of the system to the testdemonstration site. This paper examines these problems and others previously encountered in the historical context of the ongoing development of the navigation and other technologies needed to support the operations of a security robotic system and the evolution of these technologies from the research lab to an operational warehouse environment. A key lesson is that a systems robustness can only be ensured by exercising its capabilities in a number of diverse operating environments in order to 1 uncover latent system hardware deficiencies and software implementation errors not manifested in the initial system hardware or initial development environment and 2 identify sensor modes or processing algorithms tuned too tightly to the specific characteristics of the initial development environment.