Intelligent Mobile Robots in the Workplace: Leaving the Guide Behind
Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) that incorporate transport robots are currently dominated by the use of automatic guided vehicles. These AGVs generally require significant restructuring of the workplace in order for them to be useful. The concept of flexibility in manufacturing is somewhat compromised by this strategy. Our previous work in mobile robots, resulting in the Autonomous Robot Architecture (AuRA), is applied to the manufacturing domain. This approach, contrary to the AGV methodology, embeds significant amounts of knowledge (both environmental and behavioral) to ultimately give a mobile robot far greater latitude in interacting with its environment. This paper presents the motivation and subsequent simulation studies that demonstrate the feasibility of migrating schema-based navigation into an FMS. In particular, the creation of a docking motor schema to accomplish interaction with the workplace is detailed.