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Ant Colony Distribution Center

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248418D
Publication Date: 2016-Nov-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 222K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and system for utilizing Swarm Robots acting as an ant colony to redistribute packages is disclosed.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Ant Colony Distribution Center

Disclosed is a method and system for utilizing Swarm Robots acting as an ant colony to redistribute packages.

Current distribution centers use long conveyor belts and gravity rollers with many sorting points to take incoming boxes being unloaded from trailers and rail cars and to their destination trailers or local package cars. It is a very complex system of belts and also not easily reconfigurable. While sorting may be automated, it is still largely manual, and error prone as volumes and speed increase.

The following system improves the technology. The approach is to strip the interior and employ swarms of small autonomous cooperating 'mover platform bots' (MoBots), the bots would swarm around the unloading points. The unloading robot would place the package on the 'floor' of the unloading area (covered by MoBots). The MoBots necessary to carry the package (the ones the box covered and was supporting) would

query the package for it's destination and would have knowledge of the destination embarkation points. Utilizing the knowledge of the destination, the MoBots would negotiate their way across the floor to the loading bot for that destination.

MoBots could have the best shape for providing support, distributing load and movement. Figure 1 depicts some example configurations: Square, triangular or hexagonal. They would have sensors on the upward side (simplistic form - photo cell but other types are possible) to sense the area and thus the number of bots that need to cooperate and sense the destination of the package....