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ASI Logistics, SICK Tout Ability for Autonomous Reversing for Yard Operations

ASI Logistics SICK reverse autonomously logistic yard operations

ASI Logistics and SICK, Inc., have announced a milestone in the development of autonomous yard truck operations, claiming that they have solved the issue of reversing into trailers autonomously. The two companies said this is one of the final steps for completing fully autonomous yard truck operations. ASI Logistics used its Vehicle Automation Kit (VAK) and SICK’s lidars to overcome this challenge, the companies said.

“SICK recognizes that better autonomous vehicles are only possible with better sensing technologies,” said Aaron Rothmeyer, product manager for SICK. “As such, SICK is continually innovating its product portfolio to take advantage of the latest tools and ideas. Their substantial experience with optical devices shows up in well-designed sensors all the way down to the component level. In addition, SICK is also heavily involved in the creation and updating of global safety standards, which is a critical step to ensuring autonomous vehicles’ continued success.”

In order to reverse into trailers autonomously, the trucks must know the position and height of the trailer’s kingpin that it is reversing into, SICK said. The kingpin is the mechanism under the trailer that connects to the truck’s fifth wheel and locks the trailer to the truck. The truck must be able to command the kingpin connection, and the truck must be commanded to reverse autonomously into trailers.

ASI Logistics said it leverages its VAK to control its autonomous yard trucks. Inside the VAK is the truck’s Vehicle Control  Unit (VCU), which commands all the truck’s functions when the truck is in autonomous mode. Relying on quality data transmission front he sensors to the VCU is key to reversing into trailers autonomously, SICK added. ASI said it uses two SICK lidars, the LMS1000 for kingpin position, and the TIM551 for kingpin height.

As the truck reverses, the two lidars detect where the trailer’s kingpin is and relays this information to the truck’s VCU. The VCU then commands the throttle, brakes, steering and fifth wheel to continue to reverse safely into the trailer until a secure and safe connection to the kingpin is made. Once the connection is made, sensors indicate that the truck has a secure connection, and is ready for the robotic arm to attach the necessary glad-hands and continue with the rest of the move.

For more details on the ASI Logistics technology, visit its website here. To learn more about SICK’s lidar solutions, visit its website here.

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