Seoul Robotics’ Autonomous Logistics Platform to Automate BMW Fleet

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Seoul Robotics has introduced a mesh network of sensors and computers on infrastructure that guides vehicles autonomously — without requiring that the sensors be placed on individual vehicles. The 3D computer vision company is describing the network as a Level 5 Control Tower (LV5 CTRL TWR).

The Society of Automotive Engineers currently defines six levels of driving automation, ranging from 0 (fully manual) to 5 (fully autonomous). The Seoul Robotics technology is in the early stage of commercial deployment with BMW to automate last-mile fleet logistics at BMW’s manufacturing facility in Munich.

Autonomous mobility faces several barriers to commercial entry: It is cost-prohibitive, not yet safe enough to achieve Level 5 autonomy, and it lacks the ability to both perceive and anticipate obstacles effectively, Seoul Robotics said. The company’s approach using LV5 CTRL TWR mitigates these challenges with sensor technology. By placing sensors equipped with 3D perception software around vehicles — for example, on traffic lights, buildings, and highway overhangs — the system can fully capture the environment and communicate with other sensors and the 4/5G systems that come standard on vehicles today. LV5 CTRL TWR collects all the 3D data and then automates vehicles accordingly using vehicle-to-entity (vehicle-to-everything [V2X]) communications.

LV5 CTRL TWR automates vehicles from multiple vantage points, such as from behind a truck and around corners, and can predict trajectories, thus eliminating blind spots, which is a current challenge for on-vehicle lidar systems. This broad understanding of the environment and surrounding activity reduces collisions and creates a more reliable process.

LV5 CTRL TWR uses Seoul Robotics’ 3D perception software, SENSR; the software is sensor agnostic and able to use deep learning AI for enhanced tracking, detection, and prediction capabilities with centimeter accuracies. SENSR can also mix and match different makes and models of 3D sensors to ensure that LV5 CTRL TWR has the most accurate environmental understanding.

Additionally, LV5 CTRL TWR can handle the movement of hundreds of vehicles simultaneously without added cost, ensuring vehicles can drive slower or take longer, safer routes that can prevent accidents.

Beyond OEMs, Seoul Robotics says that the LV5 CTRL TWR system has the potential to transform operations for business applications ranging from vehicle distribution centers to car rental companies and trucking logistics.

“Level 5 mobility has been proven to be more challenging to achieve than expected — until now,” said HanBin Lee, CEO of Seoul Robotics. Lee said LV5 CTRL TWR systems will be deployed in additional public and commercial settings, in which they will power autonomously navigated parking and public transit.

In July 2021, Seoul Robotics and BMW signed a three-year deal whereby Seoul Robotics became a Tier 1 software provider to the German automaker. Upon the full development of Seoul Robotics’ technology, the software is to be rolled out in BMW's future vehicle lineups, per the agreement.

Work stemming from the collaboration currently uses hundreds of connected lidar and 3D sensors on infrastructure to automate newly manufactured vehicles within factories and vehicle distribution centers without any human involvement. By making this process autonomous, Seoul Robotics said, OEMs can increase operational efficiencies and safety within automotive logistics.

Published: January 2022
artificial intelligence
The ability of a machine to perform certain complex functions normally associated with human intelligence, such as judgment, pattern recognition, understanding, learning, planning, and problem solving.
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
Autonomous drivingmobilityBMWBusinessAIartificial intelligencelidarsensorsSensors & DetectorsSensor fusionOEMsmanufacturinglogistics automationSeoul RoboticsThe News Wire

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