3 July, 2017
Automated Guided Vehicles ready for action
The AGVs are just one part of the cutting edge technology integrated into the new hospital, but will play a significant role in daily operations and ultimately help staff provide better patient care.
With testing and commissioning activities at the new RAH now complete, AGVs are on the move and ready to make sure our new hospital runs smoothly once it opens in September.
Automated Guided Vehicles Quick Facts
- AGVs are 1.7m long, 275kg flat stainless steel, robotic devices on wheels.
- The fleet of 25 AGVs at the new RAH will move over 1600 trolleys each day.
- They will work behind the scenes, travelling via 14 dedicated lifts and 27 lift lobbies.
- AGVs travel at walking pace, with driving speeds of up to two metres per second (maximum). They average about 0.6 metres a second, mainly when turning corners.
- They have inbuilt sensors to ensure they stop for an obstruction and sound an audible beep to remind people nearby of their presence.
- Most people visiting the hospital won’t see AGVs, they’ll be busy working behind the scenes, making sure our hospital runs smoothly.
- The hospital’s Facility Manager, Spotless, will operate the fleet of AGVs, coordinating all deliveries and collections from a single control centre.
How will they work?
- The AGV is assigned a ‘mission’, which is the term used to describe the journey from one point to another. For example, a mission could be transporting a meal trolley to the lift lobby located near an inpatient unit.
- The AGV drives underneath a trolley, centres itself and uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to read the load type, the lobby delivery point and the final destination. Once in position, it then rises, lifting the trolley wheels off the ground during the journey.
- The AGV will select one of the 14 dedicated lifts to travel by and one of the 27 lift lobbies to arrive at, based on the closest point to the destination.
- When the AGV reaches its destination, it sends a notification through a system called the Integration Engine (IE) that the trolley has been delivered and is ready for collection. The IE generates a request for a nearby Patients Support Services Assistant (PSSA) to collect the trolley.
- Once the mission is complete, the AGV will return to its home on level one and await new instructions or return to the charging station.