TMHJ Develops Autonomous Lift Truck for Truck Loading

— Expanding the logistics automation field by introducing world-first technology —

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Toyota Material Handling Japan ("TMHJ"), a division of Toyota Industries Corporation, developed an autonomous lift truck featuring world-first*1AI-based technology that automatically recognizes the location and position of trucks and loads and generates automated travel routes to perform loading operations. This makes it possible to automate loading operations even in situations where the truck's stopping location and load position are not fixed, in addition to conventional fixed-position loading. The "Autonomous Lift Truck for Truck Loading" will be exhibited for the first time at the Logis-Tech Tokyo 2022 held at Tokyo Big Sight from September 13 to 16.

Since 1989, TMHJ has been expanding its product lineup for logistics automation, including AGF*2, which is capable of loading in fixed positions indoors, such as in warehouses. Recently, the need for automation in the logistics industry has been increasing due to labor shortages and increasing logistics volume. The introduction of efficient logistics operations has become an increasingly urgent issue. Since 2016, we have been engaging in development to meet customer demand for products that can handle truck loading operations, an area where automation has not yet progressed as it is primarily manned work.

The newly developed “Autonomous Lift Truck for Truck Loading” features truck position detection and guideless automated driving using 3D-LiDAR*3, pallet location and position detection technology that doesn’t require markers using image recognition and deep learning, and an automatic generation method for travel routes to approach pallets.
As a result of repeated technological verifications and improvements through demonstration experiments that began in 2019, TMHJ has completed the development of fundamental technologies for automated driving and loading, including reducing the work time from operations that required five times longer than manned work down to only two times longer*4.
The demonstration experiments were conducted with counterbalanced lift trucks, which are mainly used for truck loading operations. However, since there is a strong need to introduce this technology at compact work sites, TMHJ plans to expand its model lineup by adding a truck loading function to reach type trucks as well.
The company will continue to develop products to provide optimal solutions in terms of safety, work efficiency, and cost, for the logistics sites of its customers.

TMHJ will continue to work on solving issues at logistics sites and aim to be a logistics solution provider that provides optimal solutions to its customers.

*1 : According to in-house research; truck location detection using 3D-LiDAR and automatic generation of approach travel routes using newly developed algorithms (jointly developed with Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.)
*2 : Automated Guided Forklift
*3 : A sensor that can accurately measure the distance to an object by emitting a laser beam onto the object and measuring the reflected light; used to assess the situation around a vehicle
*4 : Values under our test conditions with a vehicle of equivalent specifications

[Autonomous Lift Truck for Truck Loading]