NavWiz – The Intelligence Behind all DF Robots

NavWiz Main Page
NavWiz Main Page

Main Page of NavWiz Software

NavWiz or Navigation Wizard is a software application for Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV). NavWiz has all the features required in a modern autonomous mobile robot, such as to program the robot, status monitor, smart navigation, AI and IoT enabled. NavWiz is developed by DF and it is the core of the intelligence behind all AMR and AGV from DF. NavWiz has won multiple awards and recognition in national and international.
NavWiz first released in 2016 and there are continuous ongoing new features and technologies improvement addition throughout the year to stay relevant in this fast moving technology era.
NavWiz is a software hosted in DF robots. It provides browser-based user interface to the users. It can be accessed from any devices such as laptops, tablets or phones regardless of the device operating system through the standard internet browser.
There are 3 main elements in NavWiz which are the Mapping and Routing, Task Programming and Task Runner.

 

Mapping and Routing

Mapping is the configuration of the sitemap for NavWiz to understand the area for navigation. During the setup, the AMR needs to be brought around to capture the surrounding features and form the map. Once the map is formed, it will be used by NavWiz as the reference for AMR localisation. Mapping is a one time job and doesn’t require revisiting again, unless there is a major change in the layout of the navigation area. Figure 2 illustrates the map generated after the mapping.
NavWiz Mapping

Figure 2: Mapping of Trackless AMR

Routing is the configuration of the AMR running path, by just drawing the lines on NavWiz. Routing can be done for two types of robots which are tracked AGV and trackess AMR.
For tracked AGV, it navigates purely based on the guidance of magnetic strip and the AGV position is determined from the magnetic tapes junctions. Figure 3 illustrates the routing of a tracked AGV on NavWiz.
NavWiz AGV Routing

Figure 3: Routing of Tracked AGV

For trackless AMR, routing is done on top of the map generated from Mapping. The AMR will navigate based on the path with the reference to the surrounding natural features. Users can mark the position of the Stations on the path. By doing this, AMR will know it’s starting point and the destination, at the same time identify its current position by comparing the surrounding features with the map features. Figure 4 shows the mapping and routing of the trackless AMR.
NavWiz Routing AMR

Figure 4: Routing of trackless AMR 

 

Task Programming

Task Programming is the part to program the robot to perform the tasks or actions as required by the user. The programming is a graphical flowchart. It can create tasks. By just clicking and dragging the lines connecting the Tasks together, the AGV will know the sequence of the tasks and it can also make simple decisions based on specific conditions. 
With the mapping and routing in place, users can program the robot to move from station to station. A complete AMR application, for example, delivery of raw material trolley from Warehouse to the Assembly Lines; consists of multiple Tasks. To break it down, the first Task will be AMR moving from charging station to Warehouse, second Task will be collecting the raw material trolley, the third Task will be delivery of the trolley to the assembly line and finally, the last Task is leaving the trolley at the assembly line and go back to the charging station. 
Each Task is a single specific AMR action. In order to program the AMR to perform a complete meaningful application, all these Tasks need to be linked together. The compilation of multiple tasks to form a complete AMR application is called Task Template.
Figure 5 shows the standard Task Template in NavWiz.
More importantly, there is a list of closed to 100 standard library blocks which can be used to speed up the development process. Standard actions such as “Navigate to Station”, “Wait for Button”, “Read IO”, “Write IO”, “Play Music”…etc, can be found from the list and imported into the task template. With this flowchart based programming method, users do not have to work on low level programming anymore, making the programming of DF robots easier, flexible and more expandable.
NavWiz Task Templates

Figure 5: Task Templates Robot Programming 

Task Runner

After completing the mapping and task template, users can find the list of the task templates on the Task Runner page (Figure 6). Each time the AMR can only execute one task template, the next task template triggered will be queued under the queuing list. The supervisor is able to set the priority for each queuing task template, as well as removing the task template from the queuing list if it’s necessary.
 Once the task template is completed, it will be logged into the AMR system as the record for tracing. Users can find the daily, weekly or even monthly completed task template from the History tab and Report page. 
NavWiz provides a graphical reporting page (Figure 7) for users to view, as well as to download the performance of the AMR into CSV format for easier reporting and review.
NavWiz Task Runner

Figure 6: The Task Runner Page 

NavWiz Report Page

Figure 7: Reporting Page displaying the record of robot activities

 

Other Features

Other than the 3 main elements, NavWiz features some handy applications to help with the operation of the AGV system (Figure 8). 
NavWiz Other Features

Figure 8: Other Features on NavWiz Software

Engineers can perform Action Test, Calibration, Hardware Test, Homing, Manual Line Follow and Wifi Test to assist in the routine maintenance activities.
Besides, users can check the robot’s current map and the real time scanning profile through the Map tab. Status tab is where the users can observe the robot’s condition which includes CPU power consumption, Line Sensor Status, Power Condition and much more. (Figure 9). 
NavWiz Status Page

Figure 9: Robot Status Page

 

NavWiz is being used by all robots from DF, from the smallest FDR Sushi Delivery Robot, to the Titan heavy duty 1 Tonne Autonomous Mobile Robot. With this NavWiz software, the method of programming of the Robots is the same, regardless of its model and physical outlook.
 The software is still evolving in time to suit the customer needs. With the NavWiz components and IoT infrastructure in place, the development design cycle is being shortened significantly. 
In advance of industrial 4.0 application, The next major improvement of NavWiz will be focusing more on the big data collection and visualisation. 
NavWiz All Robots

Figure 10: Navwiz – Intelligence Behind all DF AMR and AGV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a closer view on the NavWiz features and the programming of DF AMR robots from the video below!

Author by: Chia Chin Wee  I  Yeong Che Fai  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Articles Footer

 

How an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) can help to fight COVID-19?

How an Autonomous Mobile Robot AMR can help to fight COVID 19 01 scaled e1585711033385 1

COVID-19

31st of December, 2019 marked the date where several pneumonia cases arose in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the first to recognise that this case did not match any other known viruses. After going through some research, the Chinese authorities later confirmed that it is a new virus and it is temporarily named as “2019-nCOV”. Later, WHO named it as “COVID-19” which stands for ‘CoronaVirus Disease 2019’ on the 11th of February.
The virus somehow spread rapidly and on the 11th of  March, the United Nations agency responsible for international public health declared it a pandemic. The government is currently committed to tackle this problem by reducing the number of new cases rapidly.

COVID-19 in Malaysia

On the 25th of January, Malaysia announced the first COVID-19 case involving three tourists from Singapore who entered Malaysia through Johor on the 23rd of January. The first wave of these cases were detected on the 16th February where the cases rose to 22. By the 27th, the second wave started after 11 days of no new cases being reported. The number of affected people had risen to more than 1000 cases later on.
The Malaysian government took proactive actions to fight over the number of new cases by imposing a two-week RMO (Restriction of Movement Order) which started on the 18th of March and will end on the 31st of March. However, the number of new cases is not reducing; hence the government decided on a two-week extension of RMO, which will end by the 14th of April.
In this hectic situation, solutions are needed to effectively combat the disease. One of the solutions is by preventing individuals from being in direct or indirect contact with the virus. Besides quarantining the infected ones, there are risks that the healthy ones might have been infected. For example, nurses might be infected while they were serving their patients; a bus driver has the chance to contact the infected one in the bus; an officer has a risk too during the disinfection activity. Considering the aforementioned risks, the usage of the Autonomous mobile robot (AMR) could be a helping hand in replacing humans to do all these high infection risk tasks. Robots are immune to the virus and they can be run in a long period of time. You can learn more about AMR here AMR: The new look of AGV.

How can AMR help to fight against Virus?

Autonomous Mobile Robot can assist frontliners to fight COVID-19 in many areas such as to carry out disinfection activity, temperature measurement at public space, medicine delivery in hospitals and food delivery. Other advantages are outlined here: Advantages and Disadvantages of AMR.
Disinfection is one of the main activities in combating COVID-19. Certain areas where the risk of infection is high have to be disinfected, such as hospitals, markets and public transports. For example, in disinfecting a bus, the process involved people to spray disinfectant on the entire surface in the bus before wiping them down. One disinfect process will take around 40 minutes with two human powers. Plus, there are always certain corners that cannot be reached or covered by humans.
Another great alternative is by using the Ultraviolet (UV) Rays which can disinfect the area in five minutes only (source). According to the latest diagnosis and treatment guideline of the novel coronavirus released by the National Commission, the virus is sensitive to UV light and heat. In other words, UV radiation can eliminate the virus effectively. As stated in the guideline, UV light with an intensity of over 1.5 watts per square meter can be used to disinfect indoor spaces. Ventilation should be done to a room after UV disinfection, and people are suggested to enter the room 30 minutes after the process. Although it is effective to kill the virus by using UV lamps, the usage of UV lamps should be cautious as UV radiation can result in skin irritation. Thus it is not suitable for sterilising hands or other parts of the skin (source).
Although UV is able to disinfect the area in five minutes, it requires manual labor to transport the platform from one location to another. In addition, UV rays require a 30 minutes settling time which increases the cycle time. This is where the AMR has the advantage as AMR is able to complete the process automatically without involving any human presence. This also minimizes the chance of infection and reduces exposure to the UV light too. The figure below illustrates the proposed design of AMR with UV and Spraying disinfect equipment.

DF is looking for partners – it could be you!

As the government has pulled out tremendous actions to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, DF intends to contribute an effort for the government in fighting COVID-19 by developing solutions like autonomous UV disinfecting, disinfectant spraying or temperature reading by using AMR. We are actively looking for partners who are experts especially in the field of cleaning, disinfection, sterilisation or hospital operation to collaborate with us to make this project a success. We do hope that we can help to eliminate the virus with these innovations. Feel free to contact us at sales@dfautomation.com if you are interested to explore further.  Take care and stay safe.

 

Autonomous Disinfection Mobile Robot

Figure: Illustration shows proposed AMR design in performing autonomous disinfection using UV and Spraying.
How an Autonomous Mobile Robot AMR can help to fight COVID 19 02Figure: Another concept of disinfection using spraying with Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Co-authored by: Dr Yeong Che Fai  I  Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim  I  Ong Wei Lin  I  Ow Zi Yang  I  Aliya Binti Khairuddin
Illustration by: Ken Wong  I  Robert Ting  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Articles Footer

AMR: The New Look of AGV

AMR Transparent Overlay Diagram scaled e1585711840533

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR Robot)

What is AGV?

Automated Guided Vehicle or AGV was first introduced by Arthur “Mac” Barrett in 1953. The earliest version of an AGV was a modified tow truck which followed a wire under the floor, allowing it to move and navigate by itself.
Automated Guided Vehicle are used to move things around in the plant facility repetitively. Since its invention, AGVs have been improved to allow it to use alternative guidances such as coloured tape, induction or magnetic tape embedded on the floor plant. However, the AGVs still follow a fixed route, and any route change will require reinstallation of the guidance system. Besides, an AGV is equipped with sensors to detect any obstacles that pop up along its route. To avoid hitting the obstacles, the AGV will slow down or stop moving and alert users by sounding its alarm. It will not be able to change its route or direction.

What is AMR?

AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot. It is a wheeled robot that moves autonomously. Both AMR and AGV share the same functions – moving items from place to place. Sometimes these robots are also called industrial mobile robots. For nearly half a century, AGVs have been moving things around in factories, warehouses and places where material transporting is needed. However, they are challenged by the introduction of new technologies implemented by the AMRs, especially in the demand of achieving Industry 4.0, factory automation and smart manufacturing.
The greatest advantage of AMR over AGV is that AMR provides alternative navigation options. An AMR navigates using a predefined map and plans its own routes to the destination. It can detect obstacles similar to an AGV, but it is slightly smarter because it can avoid the obstacles by navigating around it. Therefore, AMR robot is considered more flexible because it can change its path dynamically with less effort. Meanwhile, an AGV is always “guided”, which means that the AGV operates on a fixed route – usually running along magnetic paths or wires. This shows that there are more possibilities for the AMR to perform better in running its job since space limit is not an issue.
Although an AMR robot is sometimes perceived to be much more costly compared to an AGV, in reality, the AMR could be more cost effective due to its flexibility and ease to set up.
The AMR’s main components include the controller board, computing unit, battery, motors, sensors and camera. It also requires some electronic integration including the safety system, drive system, power switch and warning lamp. Another important and often-overlooked component is the software which acts like the brain for the robot. The software allows users to program and interact with the AMR, besides allowing it to move autonomously. For example, DF uses our in-house NavWiz (or Navigation Wizard) software as the brain to run the whole AMR.

AGV vs AMR – what is the difference?

AMR and AGV have been defined differently by various sources. Technically, AGV always refers to a guided vehicle because its navigation is based on physical guides such as coloured tape, magnetic tape and induction wire, while AMR is a mobile robot that plans its own route based on the map which it had created earlier.
In short, both AGV and AMR are similar in terms of their features and functions in supporting logistics activity. This is because both AGV and AMR can autonomously travel in the manufacturing plants and warehouses after being programmed without needing any assistance from humans. By definition, “autonomous” describes the capability of the device acting alone or independently, while “automated” indicates control or operation by a machine or an automatic equipment. This shows that both AGV and AMR have similar meanings, yet they are introduced with different names. The only difference is the ‘navigation technique’ used by AGV and AMR in moving them autonomously.
The usage of the term ‘AGV’ and ‘AMR’ somehow have given some implications on the custom duty when these robots are being imported to certain countries. The word ‘vehicle’ in AGV may mislead the custom officer into thinking AGV is a ‘vehicle’ or ‘car’ which normally has higher custom duty compared to a robot.
Author by: Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim  I  Ken Wong  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Articles Footer