Sherpa Guide is the software stack that controls a fleet of Sherpas to provide the robotics fleet service and autonomy functions for individual robots. It includes the Fleet Manager which is the oversight software that runs on a local server, and the Sherpa software for mapping, path planning, and obstacle avoidance. It also includes battery monitoring and maintenance telemetry to assure the highest up-time.
The demands of an autonomous system require a high level of intelligence for successful and efficient operation of a fleet of autonomous material movement vehicles without a human-in-the-loop, from material pickup to route allocation to delivery.
The Fleet Manager needs to be aware of the dynamic situation on the ground such as inactive loading station, a clogged lane. It knows how to divert traffic in real-time, optimizing for maximum throughput. Vehicles must coordinate with each other to avoid deadlocks. Maps get updated regularly and it is important that the entire fleet is on the same map. The Fleet Manager monitors the battery status of each vehicle and directs them to get charged.
The Ati Motors Fleet Manager handles the duties of a traffic cop, director of fleet operations and arbiter for conflict resolution. It’s a tough job, answerable to the Customer. It delivers efficient, seamless operation of the fleet.
Prior to first deployment at a new facility, or in a new route, Sherpa is manually driven over the route to collect sensor data for an HD Map. The map is used for localization and path planning.
The Sherpa Guide stack also has the tooling to annotate the maps with deployment parameters like speed limits, one-way lanes, stations and human readable labels.
Leveraging 3D LiDAR, Sherpa achieves 2cm accuracy in the map, without markers. This capability performs well in trying indoor scenarios as well as outdoors. 3D LiDAR is instrumental in Sherpa’s autonomous capabilities, providing far superior operational domains than bots equipped with 2D LiDAR.
Summon and Dispatch
Sherpa Guide supports 4 modes for Summon and Dispatch:
In the Uber Mode users select ‘from’ and ‘to’ locations using an App. Ati provides a bare bones App that is tailored per application.
For Milk Runs Sherpas move in a pre-defined circuit. At each station, the user presses the ‘done’ button to tell the bot to move to the next station in the route.
The Button Mode adds a companion summon button that is installed at stations. Users simply press the button to book a trip to the station at the earliest opportunity. The web service can be configured to associate buttons with start and destination stations, etc.
In Fleet Mode, Sherpas are managed and routed by the Ati Fleet Manager. Fleet Manager assesses pick-up and drop requirements and dispatches Sherpas to maximize overall throughput.
Sherpa RollerTop Precision Parking
A key feature of the 3D LiDAR powered localization is Sherpa precision navigation to Auto Dock with conveyors. Sherpa RollerTop approaches a conveyor and automatically loads/ unloads totes. Sherpa successfully docks with parking precision of 2 cm.