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Ruochen Tai, Jingchuan Wang and Weidong Chen
In the running of multiple automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in warehouses, delay problems in motions happen unavoidably as there might exist some disabled components of…
In the running of multiple automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in warehouses, delay problems in motions happen unavoidably as there might exist some disabled components of robots, the instability of networks and the interference of people walking. Under this case, robots would not follow the designed paths and the coupled relationship between temporal and space domain for paths is broken. And there is no doubt that other robots are disturbed by the ones where delays happen. Finally, this brings about chaos or even breakdown of the whole system. Therefore, taking the delay disturbance into consideration in the path planning of multiple robots is an issue worthy of attention and research.
This paper proposes a prioritized path planning algorithm based on time windows to solve the delay problems of multiple AGVs. The architecture is a unity consisting of three components which are focused on scheduling AGVs under normal operations, delays of AGVs, and recovery of AGVs. In the components of scheduling AGVs under normal operations and recovery, this paper adopts a dynamic routing method based on time windows to ensure the coordination of multiple AGVs and efficient completion of tasks. In the component for scheduling AGVs under delays, a dynamical prioritized local path planning algorithm based on time windows is designed to solve delay problems. The introduced planning principle of time windows would enable the algorithm to plan new solutions of trajectories for multiple AGVs, which could lower the makespan. At the same time, the real-time performance is acceptable based on the planning principle which stipulates the parameters of local time windows to ensure that the computation of the designed algorithm would not be too large.
The simulation results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is more efficient than the state-of-the-art method based on homotopy classes, which aims at solving the delay problems. What is more, it is validated that the proposed algorithm can achieve the acceptable real-time performance for the scheduling in warehousing applications.
By introducing the planning principle and generating delay space and local adjustable paths, the proposed algorithm in this paper can not only solve the delay problems in real time, but also lower the makespan compared with the previous method. The designed algorithm guarantees the scheduling of multiple AGVs with delay disturbance and enhances the robustness of the scheduling algorithm in multi-AGV system.