Multi-Sensor Accurate Forklift Location and Tracking Simulation in Industrial Indoor Environments

Written by Valentín Barral, Pedro Suárez-Casal, Carlos J. Escudero and José A. García-Naya - Part of the Special Issue "Indoor Positioning Techniques"


"Location and tracking needs are becoming more prominent in industrial environments nowadays. Process optimization, traceability or safety are some of the topics where a positioning system can operate to improve and increase the productivity of a factory or warehouse.

Among the different options, solutions based on ultra-wideband (UWB) have emerged during recent years as a good choice to obtain highly accurate estimations in indoor scenarios. However, the typical harsh wireless channel conditions found inside industrial environments, together with interferences caused by workers and machinery, constitute a challenge for this kind of system.

This paper describes a real industrial problem (location and tracking of forklift trucks) that requires precise internal positioning and presents a study on the feasibility of meeting this challenge using UWB technology. To this end, a simulator of this technology was created based on UWB measurements from a set of real sensors. This simulator was used together with a location algorithm and a physical model of the forklift to obtain estimations of position in different scenarios with different obstacles.

Together with the simulated UWB sensor, an additional inertial sensor and optical sensor were modeled in order to test its effect on supporting the location based on UWB.

All the software created for this work is published under an open-source license and is publicly available."

Keywords: indoor positioning; ultra-wideband; industrial environment; industry 4.0