February 2014. ANT® is a smart component that enables automated guided vehicles, platforms or robots to find their way and navigate independently in known spaces, without the need for any additional infrastructure. They use natural features around them to identify where they are and they home in accurately on their destination, skilfully avoiding any obstacles in their way. At their heart are industry-proven sensors: ANT® combines data from encoders and pre-fitted safety laser scanners, achieving an accuracy of ±1 cm.
Clever navigation in healthcare settings
How this works in practice can be illustrated by the partnership between BlueBotics and Oppent (www.oppent.com), the Milan-based specialists in advanced drive technology. They provide hospitals such as the Ospedale Niguarda in Milan with high-tech solutions that rationalize and optimize logistical processes. The challenge for BlueBotics was to help its customer to design an industrial vehicle right from scratch, to develop a comprehensive traffic management solution and to create a system for controlling the processes and infrastructure. BlueBotics achieved this aim in conjunction with a highly experienced partner. Today, automated guided vehicles are able to move independently around the hospital premises, delivering meals, taking washing to the laundry and disposing of waste, fetching medicines and medical accessories from the dispensary, and freeing up health professionals to devote themselves to more worthwhile activities and, above all, to looking after their patients.
… and the cleaning robot
The partnership with Cleanfix (www.cleanfix.ch) involved designing a compact navigation system, a coverage solution for the ‘real world’, and integrating the control for the complete cleaning system. The result is robo2, a cleaning robot that automatically cleans more than 2500 m2 using three counterrotating cylindrical brushes and a powerful suction system. Thanks to ANT®, robo2 has its own eyes and memory: its laser scanner, sonar sensors and infrared sensors measure the immediate surroundings and pass the data to the navigation system. The software calculates the area to be cleaned and then, without any human input, robo2 scrubs it efficiently and extremely economically until it gleams.