Industry is the backbone of the European economy, directly providing 35 million jobs and whose products cover more than 20% of the EU’s total added-value . The European Commission stands on the brink of a new industrial revolution (i.e. Industry 4.0,) by maintaining European industry’s global competitiveness, reaching climate-neutrality by 2050, and promoting the industry digitalisation. The main features of Industry 4.0 are: high degree of connectivity in factories, adoption of autonomous production methods and enhance predictive maintenance.
Indoor Positioning will play a relevant role in factories by bringing safety, transparency, preventive maintenance and efficiency in logistics. The supporting systems, mainly Industrial Internet of Things or Cyber-Physical Systems, will enable tracking within the factory and sharing information with all the elements of the value chain. The automatization of factories, with full product traceability and the co-existence of intelligent unmanned vehicles with human operators, allows a faster reaction on product quality degradation and machinery breakdowns. Also, production becomes more flexible as it can be adapted to the market demands and customers can dynamically handle key factors (quality, production time, price, environmental sustainability) in real-time at all stages of the value chain (from development to distribution). A strong industry sector has a positive impact on the local, national and European economy. However, fragmentation of Indoor Positioning technologies, lack of interoperable practices and limited evaluation procedures in the field are preventing Indoor Positioning widespread usage.
Tracking and supporting navigation of unmanned vehicles that freely operate in industrial facilities are the core of “Low-cost Reliable Indoor Positioning in Smart Factories” (ORIENTATE). The ORIENTATE project aims at the development and industrialization of a reliable and scalable indoor positioning system (IPS), meeting the requirements of smart factories. Increasing knowledge and global competitiveness will attract investors providing profitability and internationalisation, with an expected positive impact in the Portuguese economy and European innovation.
Namely, in a broader sense, the ORIENTATE main objectives are:
- Identifying the requirements and weaknesses of IP in industrial facilities;
- Providing a new low-cost and scalable technology for Indoor Positioning in industrial settings;
- Improving the interoperability of Indoor Positioning Systems to enable an efficient combination of different sources of data;
- Promoting an open repository for Indoor Positioning in order to reduce waste of resources in on-factory testing and increase safety for UVs testing in factories.