BMW automates fleet logistics with Seoul control tower

  • January 10, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

BMW is automating last-kilometre fleet logistics at its manufacturing facility in Munich using Seoul Robotics’ level-five control tower, a mesh network of sensors and computers on infrastructure that guides vehicles autonomously without requiring sensors placed on individual vehicles.

Beyond OEMs, the system has the potential to transform operations for a wide range of business applications ranging from vehicle distribution centres to car rental companies and trucking logistics.

“Level-five mobility has been proven to be more challenging to achieve than expected, until now,” said HanBin Lee, CEO of Seoul Robotics. “The LV5 control tower has massive potential to fuel autonomous mobility, and we are thrilled to continue expanding upon the implementation of this technology with BMW and other partners. Ultimately, these systems will be deployed in additional public and commercial settings, powering aspects of our everyday lives, such as autonomously navigated parking and public transit. With the LV5 control tower, this future is closer and more accessible than ever.”

While autonomous mobility is exciting for the everyday consumer, the control tower is already proving to have an impact on business operations. The collaboration with BMW, which is the largest-ever implementation of this type of technology, leverages hundreds of connected lidar and 3D sensors on infrastructure to automate newly manufactured vehicles within factories and vehicle distribution centres without any human involvement. By making this process autonomous, OEMs such as BMW can increase operational efficiencies and safety within automotive logistics.

The tower can automate vehicles from multiple vantage points, such as behind a truck and around corners, as well as predict trajectories, thus eliminating blind spots, a current challenge for on-vehicle lidar systems. This understanding of the environment and surrounding activity can reduce collisions and create a more reliable process.

Furthermore, this system can handle the movement of hundreds of vehicles simultaneously without any added cost, ensuring vehicles can drive slower or take longer, safer routes, which can further prevent accidents.

The tower is made possible because of Sensr, Seoul Robotics’ 3D perception software. It is both sensor-agnostic and able to leverage deep learning AI for tracking, detection and prediction capabilities with centimetre accuracies. The system is flexible and can mix and match different makes and models of 3D sensors to ensure the tower has the most accurate environmental understanding.

The control tower is based on the concept of autonomy through infrastructure, an approach to first and last kilometre autonomy that automates thousands of vehicles using only a few sensors. Autonomy through infrastructure represents a departure from the traditional approach towards autonomous vehicles, as it can provide perception for numerous vehicles or autonomous robots with a relatively small number of sensors.

Seoul Robotics showed the control tower and its full suite of 3D perception-based products at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Seoul Robotics is a 3D perception company building a platform that uses AI deep learning to power the future of mobility. Founded in 2017, it has partnered with OEMs, system integrators and government agencies around the world to diversify the use of 3D data. The company has developed and commercialised its proprietary software, which is compatible with nearly all commercially available lidar and 3D data sensors, to increase accuracy and efficiency and ensure safety across a range of industries and applications.

The company has offices in Seoul, Munich, California, Raleigh and Detroit and is backed by global financial institutions.