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If you believe those responsible at Google, real-time 3D maps are the basis for the intralogistics of the future. In the recently completed ARIBIC (Artifical Intelligence-Based Indoor Cartography) research project, data was automatically collected and used for the live, digital twin of a warehouse. The Hamburg-based intralogistics provider STILL now wants to turn the findings from this project into marketable products.

A dynamic image of reality - in real time

Where in the warehouse is the pallet I am looking for? How many storage locations do I still have free in my warehouse? These and similar questions arise in practice on a daily basis, especially when manual actions gradually distort the data in the warehouse management system. According to Google, real transparency in warehouses and production halls can only be achieved using digital maps, which record and display the locations of objects and areas using a digital twin - in real time. This solution is of particular economic interest if the necessary data is collected automatically and "incidentally", so to speak. The ARIBIC research project has therefore also investigated the question of how such an automated process for status and data collection can be implemented. Dennis Schüthe, project manager at STILL, knows the solution: "We collected the data required for the digital twin via a sensor setup in the industrial trucks that 'simulated' the sensors that will be integrated in the future. This data is then combined into a digital representation of the environment, transferred to the cloud and enriched with semantic information. There, the stock can be compared with the warehouse management system and discrepancies can be identified automatically." This enriched map provides live information about the warehouse, as the industrial trucks are constantly moving and updating the map in real time. This creates a dynamic, digital 3D twin that helps to reduce the workload and significantly increase data quality.

Holistic optimization of warehouse processes

For companies, the real-time representation of their warehouse is an important key to optimizing their warehouse processes. "In addition to the transparent localization of driverless and manual transport systems, the optimization of routes and warehouse structures is a fundamental added value of a digital twin. There are also options for real-time inventory and automated material orders thanks to a link with the goods management system. Safety in the warehouse is also significantly increased by detecting defective infrastructure or blocked emergency exits in the 3D map," adds Dennis Schüthe. With its findings and concrete results, the ARIBIC project has created a valuable basis for versatile digital applications in the field of intralogistics and warehouse optimization. Matthias Merz, Senior Director Intralogistics Software Solutions, adds: "Over the next two years, I expect the project results to be developed into specific applications and incorporated into commercial products." STILL will start implementing the research results in practical products as early as next year, initially with proof-of-concept installations in real environments.