This concept explores on the question if a set of autonomous logistic vehicles can work together in a way that human-driven vehicles cannot. Pricing, eco-efficiency and overall workflow optimization were the design drivers adressed in this concept.

The design was selected as the first prize winner in the Toyota Logistic Design Competition 2016.

Technical sketches for the general layout of the two vehicles
“The initial goal was the design of a practical, beautiful vehicle fit for both small and larger warehouse logistics. During my research, I adapted this initial target. While I quickly learned that a number of autonomous guided vehicles were already in use, I concluded that compatibility between these autonomous vehicles is close to non-existent. This presents ample opportunities for innovation. I set out to design a growable system of two vehicles that, through interoperability, can manage a warehouse in with an efficiency that human-steered vehicles cannot achieve.”
GROUND TRANSPORT
AGLV-S DUCKLING
 
The first of the two is the light, versatile Duckling: the drone version of the standard warehouse pallet jack. It is a light, economic way of transporting heavy loads on ground level. The fully electric Ducklings are equipped with LIDAR-trackers for movement, and cameras for personnel recognition. Included with each duckling is a unique charging station, to which the vehicles will automatically return to recharge their batteries after finishing their task queue. The Duckling fits right into pretty much any old supermarket warehouse. It really shines however, when working large scale logistics in unison with its bigger brother: the AGLV-M, also known as the Mother Goose.
HEAVY LIFTER
AGLV-M MOTHER GOOSE
 
The second vehicle, nicknamed Mother Goose, is a heavy weight Automatic Guided Logistic Vehicle. This high performance logistic unit is fit for medium-to-large-sized warehouses. On its own the mother goose serves as a full-function unmanned forklift, but its real purpose is its role within the FLOCK-system. Essentially this vehicle serves as the heavy lifter. Its forks reach heavy loads on high storage locations. It can then place these loads onto the ducklings for ground transport. A large warehouse can function using just a few of these machines, combined with smaller Duckling units, resulting in a solution that is both eco-friendly and financially optimized.
THE FLOCK
WORKING IN UNISON

These two products best display their qualities when working in unison. With a Mother Goose, working alongside a number of Ducklings, one can do the work of traditional forklifts faster, and at a fraction of the cost.

Here’s how they work. The AGLV-M, which is a traditional heavy lifter, positions itself directly in front of the shelf. It may then lift a load from the rack using its shifting load-bearing arms. A Duckling rides in at the base of the machine, and the load is lowered onto the forks of the duckling. The duckling then lifts the load on its own fork (seperating the load from the Mother Goose) to transport it to its designated location. The Mother Goose can then pick up another load, or move to another pickup/drop-off location.
THE FLOCK
INCREASED EFFICIENCY

Instead of 3 heavy forklifts making tedious trips back and forth to pick up and deliver goods, a warehouse can now rely on one heavy unit, and two pallet jacks to do the same job. Ducklings manage almost all transport over ground, leaving the larger Mother Goose the time to move to the next storage rack, instead of having to deliver the load itself. The direct result is faster, cheaper, better warehouse logistics.
TOYOTA LOGISTIC DESIGN AWARD 2016
FIRST PRIZE WINNER


This design was an entry for the Toyota Logistic Design Competion 2016. Out of 562 students and recent graduates, my design was selected as the winner.

Image Courtesy of Toyota Material Handling
All images are digital renderings. No use without permission.
Copyright 2016 - Fabian Breës

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UPDATE: Registrations are now open for the
This year's theme is the technical development of the FLOCK concept, branching into 5 major categories: Navigation and Positioning, Component Assembly and Function, Lift Mechanisms, Energy Supply, and Networking the FLOCK.