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Pivoted sensor for track guidance and fine positioning of automated guided vehicles


The pivoting sensor can be cost-effectively upgraded to existing navigation systems and can be used for other functions such as fine positioning under storage systems. For more complex functions, an AGV can be equipped with several of these multifunctional sensors.



Modern industrial processes could not be imagined today without automated guided vehicles (AGVs). They take on autonomous, regular processes in the fields of production, assembly and logistics, such as the independent loading and unloading of goods and their transportation to specified locations. A reliable sensor technology is essential for these automated processes.


Today’s automated guided vehicles are equipped with various sensors, in particular for navigation purposes. If this task field is expanded, new sensors will have to be upgraded or existing systems replaced. The use of several sensor systems in one vehicle is not only a question of costs – each additionally implemented sensor requires space and its own interfaces and, not least, maintenance. Moreover, additional equipment restricts the spatial flexibility of a system and its load capacity.


The pivoted sensor which has been developed by the Institute of Mechanical Handling and Logistics at the University of Stuttgart makes it possible to apply the sensor, which is used as standard for navigation, for further tasks such as fine positioning underneath storage systems. By retrofitting a few low-cost components, additional sensor technology is no longer required. They are positioned by rotation to the respective reference surface depending on the task area. Thus, for example, after reaching its destination by using the track guidance sensor, the same sensor can be rotated by a predefined angle and then used for the fine positioning and identification of items to be picked up. For this purpose, two positions are intended for the sensor drive, for track guidance on the one hand and for fine positioning on the other. Consecutive tasks can thus be covered in this way while saving both costs and space. The functions of the sensors can be expanded by modifying the structure; an AGV can be equipped with several of these multi-functional sensors to take on more complex tasks with parallel processes while requiring a minimum use of resources.

Sketch of the multi-functional sensor unit.
Sketch of the multi-functional sensor unit.

Detailed description of image

Sketch of the multi-functional sensor unit: The sensor (1) is attached to the backing (2) which can rotate around the pivot axis (dotted line) and a drive (4) is used to align it to the reference surface (5). The mount (3) serves to fix the system to the AGV.


  • Saving of additional sensor technology for AGVs as well as their interfaces, space requirements and maintenance costs
  • Economic use of existing resources by deploying low-cost components

Fields of application

Reliable sensor technology is essential for automatic processes. It ensures both safe track guidance as well as a millimeter-precise positioning of the systems at the loading stations. The automatic identification of the items to be transported or the definition of the intended storage location requires such sensory technology.

Dr.-Ing. Hubert Siller
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB)
Ettlinger Straße 25
76137 Karlsruhe | Germany
Phone +49 721-79004-0
siller(at) |
Development Status
Validation / TRL4
Patent Situation
DE 102016115033 A1 pending
EP 3282336 B3 granted
Reference ID
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro GmbH has been entrusted with the exploitation of this technology and assists companies in obtaining licenses.