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An Autonomous Cooperative System for Material Handling Applications

Francisco Maturana, Sivaram Balasubramanian, David Vasko

The key to the creation of flexible automation is to use inherent redundancy in the capabilities of the system being controlled. This requires the control system to be continuously self-configurable under varying conditions. This behavior is expensive and difficult to accomplish using conventional control systems. In making control systems truly flexible, control hardware, networks, and software will need to be combined with artificial intelligence capabilities to achieve self-configuration and high flexibility. The ability of the control system to react to and predict changes will ultimately determine the economic viability of that system. In this paper, an Autonomous Cooperative System to control material handling systems is presented. Each section of the material handling system is provided with sufficient intelligence and autonomy to flexibly control the operations of the physical equipment. Control is carried out while the overall operation of the system is optimized through cooperation among the controlled sections. The operation of the material handling system is observed during conditions of equipment and product changes. The results from simulation show how an Autonomous Cooperative System can be used to reduce the impact of changes in material handling applications.

Keywords: Autonomy, Cooperation, Distributed Control, Negotiation, Flexibility, Material Handling Systems

Citation: Francisco Maturana, Sivaram Balasubramanian, David Vasko: An Autonomous Cooperative System for Material Handling Applications. In W.Horn (ed.): ECAI2000, Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2000, pp.706-710.

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ECAI-2000 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the Humboldt University on behalf of Gesellschaft für Informatik.