Newport, Del.—Jan. 17, 2013—The U.S. Patent Office issued TotalTrax Inc. a seventh patent, covering a method for collision avoidance.
U.S. patent 8,346,468—“Method and apparatus for collision avoidance”—covers a method developed by TotalTrax to prevent collisions between driven vehicles and automated vehicles operating in the same building. The system keeps track of the location, direction and speed of all tracked vehicles operating in a facility; and rapidly performs trajectory calculations in real time for each vehicle, to determine the probability of collision based on the vehicles’ capabilities and the potential for interaction between the vehicles.
The method establishes a “safe zone” around each vehicle, within which other vehicles are not permitted to enter, by sending control commands to automated vehicles (“stop”, “slow down”, or “turn”); and by alerting the operator of driven vehicles to take action if a potential collision exists. In practice, The TotalTrax collision avoidance system is similar to that used by aircraft to keep aircraft safely separated while in flight.
“We are excited to have received this patent from the U.S. Patent Office,” said Mike Kinnard, President & Chief Executive Officer of TotalTrax. “This patent is particularly important for our partners and customers who are operating mixed fleets of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and fork trucks in the same facility. This technology is key for creating and managing safe environments for mixed fleets that we believe are the future for more productive and safer materials handling processes.”
This latest patent follows the award of six other patents in the past 24 months, which include TotalTrax’s initial patent for its indoor-tracking solutions based on its Sky-Trax vehicle and inventory visibility, tracking and guidance technology.