Release Notes - Q3 2022 - Release 1.7 "Caladrius"

For our Mobile Robot Fleet Management Solution, we focused on creating a more immersive and user-centric experience for our users: in particular, giving them actionable information about what is happening and where their manual intervention might be needed. We’ve also focused on displaying more information about the configuration of the system in order to increase transparency as to why the system behaves the way it does. We’ve also kept a close eye on the effects the changes to the traffic management algorithms from the last release and brought a number of optimizations into this release. Finally, we worked hard on the process integrations by improving our interface integration with external systems wherever possible as well as ensuring, that problems in completing transport steps, have as little impact as possible.

We’ve further extended the Warehouse Execution Solution with some key new features, allowing operators to handle picking and consolidation tasks. Our native Android app guides pickers through their tasks, making sure they know exactly which items to pick from where, in what quantity, and where to bring them to. Continuous validation of barcode scans reduces errors and ensures customer orders are fulfilled as quickly as possible.

New Features

Mobile Robots | Call-To-Action Notifications

We’ve made it easier for users to see when a manual intervention is required to maintain smooth operations on the shop floor by introducing Call-To-Action Notifications to the SYNAOS Intralogistics Management Platform (IMP). These notifications have been designed to draws the user's attention and gives them easy access to the desired information. Calls-To-Action are available in different views like the shop floor view, the AGV management or the notification center.

We have introduced this new function for two initial situations: The inconsistency of the loading state (see below) and for the case when the FTF does not react to the cancellation of an order from our side and it remains in an uncontrollable state. Users can now see when one of these two situations occurs and can directly intervene and fix them.

In the future releases you will see even more situations taking advantage of the “Call-To-Action” Notifications.

Mobile Robots | Resolve inconsistencies with the loaded state of an AGV

Previously, our system handled the loading state independently of the FTF's (non-mandatory) state information. This meant that we no longer matched reality when the loading state of an FTF changed due to something other than an action initiated by our system. Although manual load handling is a common procedure in the event of a serious FTF error or initialization, users were unaware of the discrepancy between the system's expectations and the reality at the FTF and therefore had no way to resolve the situation correctly.

With this release we introduced a solution that brings the situation to the attention of the user and provides them easy tools to resolve the problem, ensuring that the automated process can be continued. For that, we focused on the most dominant reason for an out of sync state: the handling process. If the execution of a pick-up or drop-off action failed in the context of a transport order, the system immediately notifies the user via a Call-To-Action Notification (see above), asking for the support of the user. After checking the actual situation with the AGV and possibly even interacting manually with the AGV, the user can now decide the next step of the system: retrying the pick-up or drop-off process or confirming a successful completion of the handling action. In this way, the automated transport remains and can be normally continued by the system.

Mobile Robots | Public Order Interface

We have developed a public REST API to provide both transparency and flexibility for existing and new customers to integrate with a wide range of external ordering systems. This allows both our own teams and partners to develop a connection to our system faster and with much less knowledge about our overall system. As part of the release, communication has been fully transitioned to the new REST API. All incoming orders for mobile robots will go exclusively through this interface. Please contact us if you are interested in the public order interface.

Please contact us if you are interested in the public order interface.

Mobile Robots | Integrating with external Slot Space Managers

The SYNAOS IMP now offers the option to request the final destination for the pick-up or the drop-off from this external Slot Space Management System. This option is available for all single container transports, full or empty transport alike.

For some transport orders, only rough destinations might be known to our system when it starts executing the order. Those rough destinations are modeled as handling station groups, consisting of numerous handling stations. This gives the system the option to already start a transport even though the final destination is unknown due to production or intralogistics processes. Nonetheless an exact location is necessary to successfully perform a pick-up or drop-off of a container.

So far the only option available to determine the final destination was to give our system the freedom of choice with the additional option to base the decision on the sensor information available from stations of the group. In many cases this is not a suitable solution due to the fact that occupation of the handling station might be managed via an external Slot Space Management System.

Mobile Robots | Usage of Waiting Spots in Case of blocked Handling Stations

Due to various reasons the AGV trying to pick-up or drop-off a container at a handling station might face the situation, that the handling station is not available for use over a longer period of time. While this is not a problem for the AGV, the resulting situation can cause a lot of trouble for the overall facility. While being unable to access the station, the AGV has to wait on the driveway and, by that, blocking the path for other AGVs or manual transports. To avoid overtaking and evading maneuvers, the SYNAOS IMP now offers the possibility to configure Waiting Spots, which are directly associated to handling station (groups). The AGV waiting for the correct state of the handling station can move to this position in the layout, where it can wait without blocking other vehicles. As soon as the handling station has the proper state, the AGV will continue its transport and approach the station.

Waiting spots can be configured for Handling Station Groups. Vehicles that cannot enter a specific handling station, are directed to move to these positions and allow other traffic to use the driveway unobstructed.

Warehouse | Picking

Our Warehouse Execution Solution supports fast and efficient picking by preventing wrong picks and ensuring fast processing. Different picking strategies are supported, which can vary depending on the warehouse area. After the pick list has been generated, the order is assigned to picker via our Operator App. Workers receive precise instructions on which steps to work through, reducing mispicks and increasing overall picking efficiency.

We support customer-independent, multi-level picking by batching and consolidating customer orders. Orders are broken up and allocated to different resources and then reassembled at a consolidation point. Batches can consider factors like shipping cut-off-times, fulfilment methods or priority customers and contain a number of complete customer orders (single- or multiple-item-batches).

Warehouse workers are guided through the picking process by our Operator App.

Warehouse | Packages

We’ve made it easier for pickers to see if the item they are picking is made up of one or more packages, so that they don’t forget anything. For example, one table that is packaged in two packages (package 1: table top; package 2: table legs) is marked appropriately in our Operator App, so that pickers are confident they’ve got everything they need (see first item in the pick process above).


Mobile Robots | Traffic Management optimization

We’ve removed unnecessary checks for reservation requests of vehicles that can not move, as this only took away capacity from vehicles that could move, but were waiting to be processed. This makes sure that no resources are wasted on checking vehicles that, based on their position, cannot move for the time being. Instead, our system prioritizes vehicles that are in the position to drive and grant the necessary reservations to them. This way, computational power is only used for the relevant vehicles, speeding up processing time, allowing vehicles to get their reservations sooner, and increasing scalability of our Traffic Management.

Only relevant reservations get processed now, these get granted to vehicles sooner and traffic flow improves.

Mobile Robots | Deadlock Detection Accuracy

Our goal is to keep your autonomous vehicles moving, so this quarter we’ve focused on improving the accuracy of our bi-directional deadlock detection algorithm, so that more deadlocks are automatically detected and avoided. The best news for our users: the SYNAOS IMP can now detect and avoid deadlocks more accurately as well as deal with new deadlock situations, without the need for specific configuration changes.

Mobile Robots | Transport Order Cancellation Based On Station State

The handling process is one of the most delicate situations in the whole transport process. Not only is there a lot that could go wrong but it is also hard to interpret the current state of the process. At the same time the SYNAOS IMP needs to base its decision on the current state of the handling station, e.g. to determine if is necessary to pick-up an empty container at the station. We have developed an entirely new logical approach on how to interpret what is happening during the handling process at a station. This means that the SYNAOS IMP now gracefully handles if sensor data of the handling station and the current process information of the AGV are out of sync avoiding the creation or cancelling of transports based on incorrect information.

Mobile Robot | Map Filter for Avoided Edges

In release 1.5 we introduced the ability to configure nodes and edges on the shopfloor so that they are only made available for vehicles to pass through if no other route exists at that time. In this release, we’ve made it easier to visually check the configuration by adding a toggle to the Map Filter, so that you can see Avoided Edges in the shop floor view, eliminating the need to check the configuration file manually.

Map Filter now includes a toggle for Commissioning Filters and Avoided Edges

Mobile Robots | Charging and parking orders adhere to routing configurations

Configuring nodes and edges that should be avoided did not affect the choice of target locations for charging or parking orders. This lead to inconvenient situations, where the system chose charging stations or parking spots that were close by, but forced the AGV to use a route over nodes or edges that should be avoided, all while other charging stations or parking spots could have been reached without this limitation. We’ve tweaked our logic and are now considering nodes and edges that should be avoided when deciding on the charging station or parking spot to use.

Warehouse | Switch area or vehicle without logging out

We now allow users to change their location in the warehouse or the vehicle they are driving without logging out and back in. This makes it much easier to move people around during a shift.

Bug fixes

  • Finding the correct edge while starting AGV job on edge now works more reliable.
  • AGVs now only gets removed from fleet if AGV did not properly cancel the order and not in case of a cancellation timeout.
  • AGV sidebar in shop floor now shows the correct start time for a charging order.
  • Delay of a transport is now correctly calculated even if an AGV is not reporting any node as completed yet.
  • Background is now correctly removed even without reload of the application.
  • Route templates are now always exported as correct JSON files.
  • Loading indicator on the shop floor now always correctly disappears.
  • Upload of route templates now always work as expected.
  • AGV column in order tracking is now empty if the job of previously assigned AGV is cancelled.
  • Scrolling through order tracking list now always works correctly.
  • AGVs are now always correctly colored depending on the notification state of the AGV.

The Caladrius, according to Roman mythology, is a snow-white bird that can take a person’s sickness into itself and then fly away, dispersing the sickness and healing both itself and the sick person.

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