Last year we featured the story of Accerion, a Dutch company that used Jackal UGV to test and develop their unique camera-based systems which enable submillimeter-level positioning for AGVs and rugged mobile robots.

A year later, we are excited to touch base with them once more to see what they have been up to and what exciting projects they have with Jackal UGV, including a new partnership with KUKA!

The Search to Easily Support AMR Operations

Like many companies around the world, Accerion had to adapt to new restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, with work-at-home orders and restrictions on lab time and space, they had to reinvent how they maintained their services and research. One positive outcome of these new arrangements was the team’s focus on their latest project, Triton.

Triton needs no infrastructure to provide high-accuracy positioning data. It interfaces directly with navigation stacks and works seamlessly in dynamic environments. Currently, there is a big push in industry to replace robots with LiDAR, which historically performs poorly in dynamic environments. Accerion recognized the need for a solution that did not require any localization infrastructure. Enter Triton. Below, you can see the process in which Triton receives the robot pose and links it to images of the floor. After Triton maps the floor, the Lidar can be removed and the robot localizes purely based on Triton’s floor recognition combined with onboard odometry.

“With ROS preinstalled on our Jackal and the excellent documentation on Clearpath’s website, it is really easy to get started with localization and navigation. Thanks to the Jackal UGV, the integration of our sensors with existing localization and navigation packages was seamless.”

Customer Success Engineer, Demy Kremers

With a new focus on the product’s maturation, the Accerion team developed additional software features for various use cases such as free-ranging, virtual grid following, and virtual line following. Even with the majority of staff and engineers working from home – with the exception of Triton testing at their test facility – Accerion conducted 15 pilots in the AMR industry worldwide including KUKA, Festo, PAL Robotics, and more!

Jackal UGV Enables Rigorous Testing

The Accerion team conducted rigorous testing before launching Triton in September 2020. Jackal UGV was the perfect mobile robotic platform base to test the team’s software before offering it to customers. Not only that, Jackal UGV’s many unique, out-of-the-box features got the Accerion team up and running faster. As Customer Success Engineer Demy Kremers says, “With ROS preinstalled on our Jackal UGV and the excellent documentation on Clearpath’s website, it is really easy to get started with localization and navigation. We are always improving the integration of our own workflow in the architecture of existing mobile robots. Thanks to the Jackal UGV, the integration of our sensors with existing localization and navigation packages was seamless.”

Because of the time saved by using Jackal UGV, Accerion developed a workflow around Triton for new use cases, which included the creation of a Triton map using LiDAR/SLAM (with preinstalled gmapping and AMCL demo). Finally, Jackal UGV provided code snippets for Accerion’s online documentation platform to enable smooth integration of Triton on the customer side.

 

 

This testing focus using Jackal UGV improved and expanded Triton’s current features, including:

  • Support map size of 10km+ (vs. 2km last year)
  • Improved match range in (x,y) and theta
  • Improved map lifespan
  • Pose graph optimization (improved map quality)
  • Relative tracking (visual odometry)
  • Buffered recovery mode (find initial global pose easily)
  • Multi-area operation (for multi-story buildings for example)
  • ARAMS logging tool

Clearpath and Accerion have built a fruitful partnership, bringing together Jackal UGV and Triton. Accerion saw great success in testing Triton in 2019, delivering 295 Tritons while maintaining six Operational Sites and launching in September 2020. Perhaps the crowning achievement was Triton being selected for Robotic Business Reviews Top 50, the RBR50 Innovation Awards. Accerion also announced a key partnership with KUKA, who will soon implement Triton in KUKA’s omniMove AGV, providing positioning applications formerly realized with optical guidance. KUKA cited Accerion’s robust solution and ease of implementation as key benefits onboard the OmniMove.

To learn more about Triton, you can visit the Accerion website here.

To learn more about Jackal, visit our website here.

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