VABULEUSFully automated inventory and transport tracking with high tracking rate by mobile service robots

Fully automated inventory and transport tracking with high tracking rate by mobile service robots for efficient logistics management in industry, workshops and retail

Thüringer Aufbaubank Europäischer Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung
Thüringer Aufbaubank Europäischer Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung


The amount of passive UHF-RFID transponders circulating worldwide increased by 27% to 3.8 billions in 2014. Till 2020, up to 50 billion RFID transponders will be in use.

Essentially, they are used in the retail sector (particularly in clothing and shoes), logistics, industry (automotive/automotive suppliers) and increasingly in the health sector and in workshops for accomplishing a closed form solution in inventory of goods, semi-finished parts, tools as well as for realising tracking, purchase completion and theft protection.

The primary interest is to enable a fully automatization of previously manual conducted inventories and tracking via appropriate development of RFID radio technology and robotics.


The focus of the project is the industry as field of application and the transport containers involved (usual referred to as Small Load Carriers (SLC) system, VDA standard 4500). To take advantage of the RFID technology's benefits, a frequently executed inventory of production, logistics and sales area is necessary. Past tracking of RFID handheld readers is time consuming, prone to errors and does not allow automatic tracking of the current location.

In the current project, components for new autonomous mobile service robots with focus on industrial environments are being developed. Fields of applications are fully automated tracking, monitoring and inventory of stock-in-trade based on passive UHF-RFID transponders in multiple environments (production buildings, stores, workshops, storages, etc).

A fully automated, for industrial purposes appropriate inventory with RFID inventory robots provides with an online integration in the IT network of users (ERP, merchandise management, warehousing, etc.) significant benefits to sustainable process improvements:

• considerable increasing repetition rate with simultaneous reduction of tracking costs
• improved data updates, increased tracking accuracy in terms of completeness, correctness and storage location
• reduction of strain on personnel (e.g., because of night or weekend shifts), reduction of tracking errors

The project associates cover the following focus areas:
• robotic engineering (MetraLabs GmbH, Ilmenau, project coordinator)
• radio engineering (TU Ilmenau)
• plastics engineering, KLT (ISOCO GmbH, Schmiedefeld)

Compatibility of Key Objectives

The project addresses the subjects "Smart Systems for real Applications", particularly "Service and Assistance Robotics" (IKTIPD 2.1), and thus, is integrated in the interdisciplinary field "Information and Communication technology, innovative and production-related services".

Due to various application possibilities in the field of controlling and flow control of goods or parts inventory, there is a close affiliation to the specialised field "Sustainability and intelligent Mobility & Logistics" (NIML 2.1).



Dr. Alexander Ihlow
Phone: +49 3677 69-4284