GALileo-bAsed seamless and robust Positioning Applications for loGistics Optimation proceSses
Background & Objectives
Currently most transport companies, e.g. freight forwarding businesses, rely on a variety of different positioning or telematic systems. These include preinstalled systems ex factory as well as systems that are retrofitted by independent providers.
No more than 10% of the currently used and tested positioning systems also include position surveillance for the vehicles, e.g. semi trailers or swap bodies. However, since a significant number of trailers are lost every year, the demand for a positioning solution for this means of transport is apparent.
Considerably higher initial costs for self-sufficient positioning systems compared to telematic systems that depend on vehicle power supply are an obstacle for the introduction of such systems. Furthermore, the survey evidently showed that, so far, transport companies are not aware of the cost/performance ratio and the expected ROI of such systems.
But smaller companies (SMEs) cannot afford hardware and software systems, and even larger companies who already have logistics management systems are very careful with new amendments to their systems. These issues have to be solved for the businesses to make a decision to purchase a new logistics management system.
The installation of GNSS receivers on containers and boxes is more complicated than on cars; GNSS antennas are mostly put in positions with bad signal strength.
Each positioning method has its own merits and associated accuracies. Software algorithms will be designed for a final hybrid positioning system that will minimise divergences from one positioning method to another. Within the project these aspects will be analysed and realised in software algorithms that may be used in the final GALAPAGOS system. The major aim of these studies will be a permanent comparison of different positioning systems to gain robust positioning information and ensure a seamless functionality, e.g. while changing environmental conditions such as outdoor to indoor, so as to provide a seamless supply chain.
An ad hoc network will also be developed to establish short and fast connections between nodes, which may be occasionally part of the network. In this application some containers could play the role of moving objects which enter into a network environment from time to time. Normally the connection is peer to peer; however broadcast messages (point to multi-point) could also be possible. Ideally, all network nodes should be able to route information to other network nodes.
Another task in the GALAPAGOS project is to combine different positioning methods to design a system that can provide the location on floor plans of warehouses or factory areas. One aspect of this task is to realise a map-matching algorithm that can display a position on a blue print.
GALAPAGOS aims to develop a positioning system that can be used within the scope of logistics applications, e.g. for container tracking. The GALAPAGOS positioning core is based on high sensitivity GNSS receivers augmented by EGNOS/EDAS and assisted data. Additional positioning technologies, such as GSM and WLAN, are incorporated to improve continuity and availability of the positioning information in complex environments. The proposed system also uses redundant communication methods to provide a robust and seamless use as part of special operational logistics systems.
Ad hoc networks are used to establish short and fast connections between containers, which are occasionally part of the network. For example if containers are stacked in a storage area, they could have connections to other containers or to fixed locations.
The GALAPAGOS system guarantees provision of a seamless supply chain over a complete logistic action. GALAPAGOS provides, among other features, the display of precise position factory data and warehouse floor plans.
The developments of hard- and software are refined by technology specialists and are accompanied by scientific studies, for example on the benefits of Galileo.
The logistics department of the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Logistics) is the associated partner in the consortium and will be the launch customer of the project.
Work performed & results
The output of GALAPGOS will be an application with a clear market implementation focus using GNSS as a primary positioning technology.
The product will have great market opportunities with its combination of high-precision GNSS receivers, inexpensive ad hoc network locationing technology, and a server-side structure for calculating transportation times and showing the possibilities for optimising the logistics process. It will also help to reduce resource consumption, air pollution and CO2 emissions.
Key topics of the product therefore are:
- a high-precision GNS receiver with antenna technology purpose-built for containers and other boxes made of steel;
- ad hoc network technology for reducing prices for locationing devices resulting in a better acceptance by the customer;
- combining different locationing technologies for a better locating experience, even under bad reception and broadcasting conditions.