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In many manufacturing environments, automated guided vehicles are used to move the processed materials between various pickup and delivery points. The assignment of vehicles to unit loads is a complex problem that is often solved in real-time with simple dispatching rules. This paper proposes an automated guided vehicles dispatching approach based on computational intelligence. We adopt a fuzzy multicriteria decision strategy to simultaneously take into account multiple aspects in every dispatching decision. Since the typical short-term view of dispatching rules is one of the main limitations of such real-time assignment heuristics, we also incorporate in the multicriteria algorithm a specific heuristic rule that takes into account the empty-vehicle travel on a longer time-horizon. Moreover, we also adopt a genetic algorithm to tune the weights associated to each decision criteria in the global decision algorithm. The proposed approach is validated by means of a comparison with other dispatching rules, and with other recently proposed multicriteria dispatching strategies also based on computational Intelligence. The analysis of the results obtained by the proposed dispatching approach in both nominal and perturbed operating conditions (congestions, faults) confirms its effectiveness.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:35 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: April 2005