BMW Logistics Center Tests Self-Driving Skiffs

April 30, 2019 at 5:22 AM

BMW AG’s logistics center in Dingolfing, Germany, has begun using self-driving platforms to transport incoming replacement parts from the freight dock to the warehouse.

The electric AutoBox uses 12 sensors to orient itself and avoid obstacles throughout the facility. BMW says there was no need to change the layout of the facility to accommodate the automated vehicles, as has been necessary with previous tests of similar systems.

The self-driving skiffs can transport 20 large boxes of parts weighing as much as 20 tons. This is equivalent to human-driven “tugger trains” that are typically used at the Dingolfing facility.

Workers load the AutoBox with incoming parts. The transport platform then drives through a roller-shutter door to the warehouse, where the parts are stored before being dispatched to customers.

Omnidirectional wheels allow the AutoBox to maneuver around tight turns and into loading bays. When parked in the warehouse, the vehicles use a wireless charging system to automatically replenish their batteries.