A typical mobile robotic deployment will result in multiple autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) being deployed at your facility. As soon as you have more than one AMR running in your facility, you will need to have a fleet management software solution to manage the operations of your fleet.
A fleet management solution (FMS) is an additional software application that is deployed either virtually in the cloud, or on a server on-premise at your facility. The FMS needs to communicate directly with the AMRs within your facility. This communication typically happens over WiFi, so it requires that the FMS have access to your wireless network.
Most AMR manufacturers offer a FMS designed specifically for their solutions. The FMS is typically an option, and not included in the price of the base AMR. However, this depends on the type of application for your mobile robot.
In automated warehousing workflows such as goods-to-person (G2P), or person-to-goods (P2G) the expectation is that the application will require the deployment of multiple robots from the start. For these classes of applications, the FMS features will be included with the cost of the fleet.
Here are the key features included in a fleet management solution:
- Graphical User Interface
- Fleet monitoring (robot location, status, battery level, task/mission)
- Robot recovery/restart/relocalization
- Event/alarm monitoring
- A scheduler to plan missions
- Map editing & enrichment
- Task allocation
- Traffic control
- Route planning
- Smartphone/tablet application
- Data analytics
- User management
NOTE: Some vendors have limits to the maximum number of robots that can be controlled by the FMS. Be sure to research this limit during your evaluation of vendor solutions.
Third party fleet management solutions
There are a number of third-party software companies who develop a fleet management solution. Each of these solutions are capable of managing a heterogeneous fleet of AMRs, although you should verify that the manufacturer of your AMR is in the list of supported devices by the third party solutions listed below
The MassRobotics Interoperability Standard is emerging as a supported standard for the interaction of heterogeneous AMR fleets. A large consortium of the AMR industry is already on-board with supporting this new standard. Be sure to inquire with your AMR manufacturer of choice to see if they are supporting this standard.