Until now, driverless transport vehicles from different manufacturers could not be controlled by a common master control unit. The VDA5050 standard helps solve the problem – its open-source implementation from the Silicon Economy was successfully implemented in FLIP, the »Flexible Lifter for Intralogistics and Production« developed at Fraunhofer IML.

FLIP is one of the participants in a »mesh-up« of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) at the TEST CAMP Intralogistics with the VDMA Association for Materials Handling and Intralogistics being in charge at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund. Several driverless transport vehicles from different manufacturers, of different types and sizes and equipped with different types of navigation, used the new VDA 5050 interface and drove under a common guidance system. This meant that they could use the same routes and perform intralogistical tasks together. FLIP was specifically equipped with the VDA 5050 open source implementation: the »libVDA5050++« – a development from the Silicon Economy.

Faster conversion thanks to open source

»The libVDA5050++ offers a generic open-source implementation of the VDA-5050 standard, enabling manufacturers of AGVs to convert their vehicles to this standard quickly and without major effort,« says Dennis Lünsch, scientific employee at Fraunhofer IML, AGV expert and also responsible for the Silicon Economy’s »libVDA5050++« development project.

The entire control logic of the VDA5050 is encapsulated within the »libVDA5050++«, which reduces complexity and administrative effort for the user. For connection to a master control unit, the »libVDA5050++« offers a generic interface that is implemented independently of middleware and can be quickly adapted to new requirements. In addition, the library has a lean interface to the vehicle, via which upcoming driving maneuvers received via the VDA-5050 standard are forwarded to the vehicle and status information from the vehicle can be reported back to the master controller in a VDA-5050-compliant manner.

The library is available for Windows and Linux, is written in the so-called »C++17 standard« and is to be made freely available via the Open Logistics Foundation.

Photo: Fraunhofer IML