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marion - Mobile, autonomous, cooperative robots in complex supply chains

The project marion is being supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and addresses the optimisation of supply chains by incorporating mobile machines that perform the realisation, as far as possible, autonomously and cooperatively. In two use cases, namely "Intralogistics" (warehouse logistics with autonomous forklifts) and "Infield transport logistics" (transport chains with autonomous agricultural machines), solutions are to be examined and developed. These solutions are supposed to enable the machines to be able to perform the planning and realisation of their assigned processes related to supply chains. 

Increases in productivity solely through optimisation of machine related solutions are getting close to their limits. Added value increasingly occurs in combination with different and mostly wide spread participants. In agriculture, for example, plenty of processes that are realised with the help of agricultural machines decide about the quality and quantity of an agricultural product and therefore decide its price as well. Although plenty assistance systems exist today which support the machine operator by increasing his efficiency (e.g. with steer control, lane departure warning system etc.), these machines act locally and on their own and do not cooperate autonomously with other systems. Supply chains with mobile machines could be improved decisively by giving these machines autonomy and decision-making capabilities. Comparable issues can be found in all kinds of areas in which machines provide a substantial contribution to supply chains - Business processes and the increasing use of robots should be viewed in correlation, because robots are not isolated technical solutions but intervene deep in operational structures. 

Within the project marion, C-LAB is responsible for basically two aspects: Modelling and concept of the imaging information and communication architecture. The goal of the modelling is to consistently capture relevant processes, data streams and data models. On the basis of the architecture that images the relevant information and communication data streams, realisation is achieved with supportive contribution by the C-LAB in the form of demonstrators. In the process, principles of the "artificial intelligence" are combined with modular, technical software components. For this purpose, especially the use of OSGi in real-time-requests as well as efficient real-time capable communication protocols are analysed. 

In two scenarios - Intralogistics and Infield-Transportlogistics - the developed concepts are put to practice in the form of demonstrations. For the field of application Intralogistics, a cooperation of vehicles with different functions (horizontal transport, vertical transport) and the complex processes of loading and unloading of trailers are depicted. The goal for the field of application Agriculture is to develop an Infield-Robot to provide a solution for autonomous transport of yield from harvesters to road transport vehicles at the edge of the field ("Autonomous Infield Transport System"). The strategy of processing and moving takes both economical and ecological criteria into account. 
Marion is a collaboration with the BMWi (project no. 01MA10028) in the framework programme AUTONOMIK of the BMWi (http://www.autonomik.de/)

Project funded by: BMWi
Project duration: 08/2010 bis 07/2013
Project partners: CLAAS Selbstfahrende Erntemaschinen GmbH, Atos IT Solutions and Services GmbH (C-LAB), Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH (DFKI), STILL GmbH
Contact: Gudrun Tschirner-Vinke, C-LAB, Project manager; Max Reinecke, CLAAS  Selbstfahrende Erntemaschinen GmbH
Project website: www.projekt-marion.de