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How to Track Indoor Warehouse Vehicles Accurately and Cost-Effectively

Knowing the real-time location of a specific ground-based machine, such as a forklift, within 1-3 meters can significantly increase the safety and efficiency of a large facility.

The benefits of tracking machines and assets indoors are plentiful:

  • Knowing the real-time location of a specific ground-based machine, such as a forklift, within 1-3 meters can significantly increase the safety and efficiency of a large facility.
  • Not limited to ground-based machines or vehicles, such as forklifts, a large facility can benefit from tracking any type of autonomous mobile robot, such as inspection robots, reception greeting robots, or warehouse fulfillment robots.
  • Analytics tracking the usage and path of these machines can allow facilities to track the time and dynamics of equipment usage to monitor battery usage or to better schedule maintenance.
  • Assets can also be tracked more accurately and cost effectively through forklift tracking. There is no need to track each individual pallet, if the forklift moving the pallet is being tracked.

If the benefits are plentiful, why aren’t more warehouses implementing this tactic?

Until now, keeping track of essential equipment indoors has been a luxury afforded to few. In efforts to receive accurate positioning of machines indoors, facilities have installed expensive sensors on their equipment (such as cameras or lidar) or incurred great costs by installing WiFi, Bluetooth or Ultrawideband (UWB) throughout their warehouses.

How does Trusted Positioning track warehouse vehicles without the high price tag or compromising accuracy? Vehicle Dead Reckoning with Geomagnetic Positioning.  

What is Vehicle Dead Reckoning?

Vehicle Dead Reckoning is the tracking of a vehicle from it’s last known (or absolute) position by analyzing the changes of its’ speed, direction, and heading from that last known spot. At Trusted Positioning, we use inertial sensors at the core of all of our technology because they are the only always-on positioning sensors. These sensors, combined with other absolute sources, such as geomagnetic or wireless signals, provide accurate and affordable positioning in all environments.

What is Geomagnetic Positioning?

The addition of geomagnetic positioning to our vehicle indoor tracking technology makes this solution unique for machine tracking.

Buildings are constructed of steel and other materials that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field; therefore, creating a unique magnetic field that can be surveyed and referenced to give precise indoor positioning information.

How These Technologies Work Together

Using our VENUE product, a smartphone (or VENUE Tag – a small device comprised of low-cost movement sensors) and indoor map are all that is needed to create an indoor positioning solution. Using the built-in inertial and magnetic sensors of the smartphone or VENUE Tag, VENUE tracks the movement of a vehicle or machine with wheels indoors using geomagnetic positioning, inertial navigation and other wireless signals or opportunity. VENUE integrates all sources of infrastructure-free positioning technology to achieve an average accuracy of 1-3m.

Check Out the Demo:

How can VENUE Enable Asset Tracking?

If the machine or vehicle moving the asset or pallet is being tracked with high precision, there is no need for a high cost, high price asset tracking system. A simple low-cost tracker, such as an RFID tag or BLE tag, on the asset/pallet can be used in tandem with the VENUE system to enable asset tracking within 1-3m at minimal cost. Meter-level asset tracking can be achieved by knowing the proximity of an asset to the vehicle. If the asset stays in close proximity to the vehicle, we know that the asset is being moved. Once the asset becomes distanced from the vehicle we know that the asset is no longer on the vehicle and must have been set down. The last known vehicle position of when the asset and vehicle were in proximity gives us the asset’s position. All asset locations can be accessed in real-time on the VENUE device or live-feed web dashboard and offline through the analytics dashboard. The analytics dashboard enables post mission analysis of machine traffic patterns through the warehouse via a heatmap, as well as playback of the trajectory of material assets through a factory.