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1. (WO2019002918) METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLING AND MOVING AN AUTOMATED GUIDED VEHICLE (AGV)
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CLAIMS

A method of controlling and moving at least one automated guided vehicle (2) for moving and transporting objects (O) in an industrial or commercial plant (P), said method comprising the steps of:

a) providing an automated guided vehicle (2) with motion- imparting means (3) and transport means (4) for moving and transporting objects (O);

b) providing the vehicle (2) with sensor means (1 1 ) for detecting the position of said vehicle (1 ) and the movement of objects (O);

c) providing said vehicle (2) with a microprocessor unit (16) operably connected to said motion-imparting means (3) and said sensor means (1 1 );

d) installing a computer product containing a control algorithm (18) and at least one file (19) containing an operating mission (M) defined by a path (R) having at least one trajectory (T) and moving steps (H) for the objects (O) in the memory (17) of said microprocessor unit (16);

e) retrieving said at least one file (19) by an operator to reproduce the operating mission (M) corresponding to said file (19);

wherein said control algorithm (18) comprises a self-learning mode for defining said file (19) by the following steps:

f) activating said sensor means (1 1 ) and manually guiding the vehicle (2) by an operator for carrying out said mission (M); g) sampling the position and movement data for the objects (O) along said trajectory (T) at regular intervals;

h) storing the sampled data to create said file (19);

i) interpolating the sampled data using a predetermined function for generating a reference path (R) as close as possible to the trajectory (T) for said mission (M) to be repeated in automatic mode by the vehicle (2) each time that it is retrieved by the operator.

A method as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said step of f) activation of said sensor means (1 1 ) and said self-learning mode is carried out by the operator through a graphics interface (21 ) installed on said vehicle (2).

A method as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said sampling step g) is carried out along said trajectory (T) at points spaced at a distance that can be appropriately adjusted by an operator in a range from 5 cm o 30 cm, and is preferably close to 20 cm.

A method as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said operating mission (M) comprises a variable-geometry path (R) with straight and curvilinear trajectories (T), as well as steps for moving (H) the objects (O) by said motion-imparting means (3) installed in said vehicle (2). A method as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said function for generating a reference path (R) comprises a graphical interpolation using fifth-order Bezier curves.

A method as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said path (R) comprises a trajectory (T) that is designed to avoid a fixed or movable obstacle within the plant (P).

A method as claimed in one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that, after said step of h) storing the sampled data, a step is provided of j) transmitting said operating mission (M) to another automated guided vehicle (2') of said plant (P).

A system (1 ) for controlling an automated guided vehicle (2) designed to transport, move and/or store objects (O) in an industrial or commercial plant (P), by carrying out the method as claimed in claims 1 to 7, comprising:

- an automated guided vehicle (2) having motion-imparting (3) and transport (4) means for moving and transporting objects (O) associated with respective motor means (5);

- sensor means (1 1 ) mounted to said vehicle (2) to detect the position thereof along a trajectory (T) and the moving steps (H) for the objects (O) in the pick-up (C) and loading/unloading (L) stations;

- a microprocessor unit (1 6) operably connected to said motor means (5) and said sensor means (1 1 );

- a computer product installed in the memory (1 7) of said microprocessor unit (16) containing a control algorithm (1 8) and a file (1 9) containing an operating mission (M) defined by a path (R) composed of said at least one trajectory (T) and said moving steps (H);

- control means (20) connected to said microprocessor unit (1 6) accessible by an operator for selective actuation of said algorithm (1 8) and retrieval of said operating mission (M);

wherein said control algorithm (1 8) comprises a self-learning mode for defining said file (1 9) by actuation of said sensor means (1 1 ) and by sampling of the position and movement data for the objects (O) along said trajectory (T);

wherein said algorithm (18) is adapted to store the sampled data during manual guiding of the vehicle (2) by an operator that carries out said operating mission (M);

wherein said control algorithm (1 8) comprises an interpolation function for interpolating the sampled data to generate a reference path (R) that is as close as possible to said trajectory (T) for said mission (M) to be repeated in automatic mode by the vehicle (2) each time it is retrieved by the operator.

9. A system as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that it comprises reference markers arranged in predetermined positions of the plant (P) and adapted to interact with said sensor means (1 1 ) installed on the vehicle (2) for triangulation of its location along the path (R) of said operating mission (M), wherein said reference markers comprise a plurality of reflective elements which are adapted to reflect laser beams emitted from a 360 " rotating head (1 2) mounted on said vehicle (2).

10. A system as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that it comprises safety means (24) having a laser scanner (25) with a scan angle of about 270 °, which are installed in said vehicle (2) for automatic detection of any obstacles encountered during said operating mission (M).

1 1 . A system as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that it comprises a battery power source (9) installed in said vehicle (2) for supplying power to said motor means (5) and said microprocessor unit (1 6), said battery source (9) being adapted to be charged by a power supply station (F) situated in a fixed location in said plant (P).

1 2. A system as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that said sensor means (1 1 ) comprise an encoder (1 3) installed on said motor means (5) for detecting the motion of said motion-imparting means (3) during said self-learning mode.

1 3. A system as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that said control means (20) comprise a graphics interface (21 ) installed on said vehicle (2) for access by the operator and a wireless router (23) for connecting said microprocessor unit (1 6) with a plurality of remote devices (22) and for connecting together other automated guided vehicles (2') that are part of said plant (P).