Applications - Product launches - Technology insights

Introducing a new relative positioning system for mobile platforms

If you are operating in warehouses or factories, there is a good chance you have people moving heavy loads. Today, electric or manual pallet trucks are the most common tools used, but mobile robots are also on the rise. With this in mind, Terabee has been working on an innovative hardware kit to make these tools smarter and enable human operators to remotely guide them. The results; increased productivity and reduced risk of accidents or injury.
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Discover our new Radiofrequency hardware kit

Terabee is planning to release a new radiofrequency hardware kit comprising of two beacons (a master and a slave), to be installed on a mobile platform, and a remote control for the human operator. The beacons can be installed on a variety of mobile robots or electric pallet trucks. The remote control is battery operated and when the human operator wants to be located by the beacons, he simply presses the remote’s main button whilst standing relatively close to, and in direct line of sight of the beacons.

When the remote control is powered and its button pressed, the master beacon calculates a distance and a bearing from the central point between the two beacons to the remote control. In the case of a mobile robot, this data can be used by the robots’ navigation system to map a trajectory from itself to the human operator. The next figure illustrates how our system uses trigonometry to calculate distances and bearings between the remote and the two beacons:

Our radiofrequency relative positioning system enables many applications such as adding follow-me or track-me functions between a human and a mobile platform. During our in-house testing with an industrial-grade mobile robot, we saw that combining our system with the robot’s navigation and anti-collision systems made follow-me functionalities significantly more reactive, and safer too.

Technical specifications for our radiofrequency positioning system:

• Update rate: 30 Hz
• Beacon size: 5 x 5 x 6.35 cm
• Input voltage for master beacon: 10-30V
• Minimum distance between beacons: 20 cm
• Remote control: 14.5 x 9 x 3.5 cm
• Interfaces: USB and RS485
• Mounting options: external or back panel mounting from inside the mobile platform

Terabee will offer an off-the-shelf hardware kit for Q1 2020. If you would like to be among the first to get your hands on it, please contact us. We’d be happy to tell you more.
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Potential applications for logistics and manufacturing

Our relative positioning hardware, combined with software development can transform electric pallet trucks into smarter mobile platforms to improve productivity and safety when transporting items from one place to another. Instead of the human being close to the mobile platform and interacting with it via a handle, the operator can be positioned at a safe distance and guide it via the hand-held remote to navigate through obstacle-ridden or dangerous zones. Compared to traditional joystick operated controllers, building a follow-me system with our hardware is more intuitive and can be operated by anybody safely without extensive training.

Partner up with Terabee for your mobile robotics projects

Our engineers have extensive experience in helping to automate platforms and processes. We also work extensively with mobile robot manufacturers. Our processes are lean and iterative and reduce risk from your innovation projects. If you would like to integrate Terabee technology to enable follow-me functionalities into your mobile platforms, please get in touch with us.
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