IEC 61499 demonstrators

Fleet of AGVs: intelligent IEC-61499 agents integrated with the manufacturing automation tasks


Bluebotics’ ANT® is a hardware/software ready-to-use solution to apply autonomous navigation, in complex and dynamic environments, to already existing or custom designed mobile agents, scalable from a single AGV to a fleet of them.

The on-board intelligence of ANT®’s mobile agents can autonomously handle obstacles by either moving around them (obstacle avoidance), or adapting the speed to avoid emergency situations (path following), while it can combine information from industrial encoders and laser scanners to reach an accuracy of ±1 cm and ±1°. Development and deployment is made easy by the ANT® Lab integrated solution, which supports the installation of the platform, the process of configuring the vehicles, mapping the environment, creating the routes, handling traffic, and monitoring operation.

Finally, ANT® server hosts traffic management, the interface to the customer’s equipment, and the operator interface. The traffic management takes advantage of the characteristics of ANT® to make the whole configuration process straightforward. Indeed, the graph defined for navigation is used to automatically generate the traffic rules. The ANT® server allows visualizing the fleet in 3D, while the 2D monitoring application is available on many clients. Additionally, the server permits simulating a setup, which is very helpful to dimensioning a fleet of vehicles.


The main selling points of improved solution, compared to the existing ANT server, include:
  • Enhanced routing capabilities that guarantee on-time delivery, minimize travel time, and avoid traffic congestion and deadlocks.
  • Dynamic re-routing of scheduled missions without introducing deadlocks.
  • Advanced fleet management capabilities.
Compared to other similar solutions in the market, the envisaged advantages are:
  • Cross-platform compatibility with any AGV, automated forklift, or mobile robot, regardless of brand or kinematics.
  • Efficient and customizable connectivity with plant appliances.
  • Reduction of installation time and cost through the bloomy design platform.

Physical Application


One of the key challenges of this Use-Case is managing fleets comprising up to 200 vehicles. These vehicles operate in diverse and changing indoor and outdoor environments. The fleets consist of various vehicle types and require coordination of thousands of missions daily. Moreover, the solution needs to interact with numerous devices, each using different protocols. The goals of this Use-Case include minimizing installation time and cost, optimizing processes, ensuring deadlock-free traffic, and enabling seamless device communication.

To achieve these goals, the Demonstrator relies on the "ANT server," an advanced mission and fleet management software. The ANT server is designed to handle any AGV, automated forklift, or mobile robot, regardless of brand or kinematics. Although the ANT server is known for its simplicity in setup and configuration, it does have some limitations that the new fleet manager aims to address. Specifically, the new fleet manager, developed under the 1-SWARM project and leveraging the "Algorithmic modules AGV fleet management" (primarily developed in WP5), will route AGVs to avoid traffic congestion and deadlocks while ensuring timely delivery and minimizing travel time. Additionally, the traffic controller will enable dynamic re-routing of missions without introducing deadlocks, giving ANT server a competitive advantage.


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