The Sick Nav-Loc (localisation on contour) is an easy-to-set up solution based on the company’s Nav 360o LiDAR scanner that can be integrated into new or existing AGVs. By recognising the pre-mapped contours of a factory or warehouse interior, the system eliminates the need for time-consuming and costly reflector installation, as well as special paints, tracks, magnetic strips or coloured tapes.

“The introduction of Nav-Loc is an important step forward in the availability of contour-based localisation systems that promise more flexibility, and lower cost of installation and maintenance,” says Neil Sandhu, Sick’s UK product manager for imaging, measurement and ranging. “Especially suited to medium and large AGVs, automated forklifts, shuttle systems and mobile robots, the beauty of Nav-Loc is that it is straightforward to set up. Moreover, the system offers easy modification of the navigation path when the surroundings are altered, or the AGV needs to be redeployed to another area.”

Setting up Nav-Loc begins by simply ‘teaching’ the on-board Sick LiDAR scanner prominent contour features, such as walls, large static machinery, racking or bays. This data is subsequently used by Sick Service to create a precise reference map on behalf of the customer or machine builder.

Unlike conventional systems, Nav-Loc does not require numerous reflectors positioned in groups of threes along a route to enable a laser scanner to triangulate its position. Tracks or magnetic strips installed in the floor or adhered to fittings, or special coloured or reflective lines, are also redundant. There is no risk of reflectors or paint being contaminated or obscured, and there is no routine maintenance or route inspection needed.

Designed for robust operation in tough industrial conditions, Nav-Loc scans its contours eight times a second. With a working range of up to 250 m, the system does not need special lighting and can even operate reliably with surfaces down to 10% remission at distances of up to 35 m.