Autonomous Transport Systems
Autonomous transport systems provide unmanned, autonomous transfer of equipment, baggage, people, information or resources from point-to-point with minimal intervention. They can include the full range of transport vehicles, including trucks, buses, trains, metros, ships, and airplanes. They are most commonly deployed in controlled industries zones but are expected to soon be deployed in public areas with varying degrees of autonomy. We differentiate autonomous transport systems from autonomous vehicles. Whereas autonomous vehicles serve individual passengers (who may or may not own the vehicle), autonomous transport systems are interconnected fleets of vehicles owned by a business to service a particular need systematically. When discussing autonomous transport systems, the focus is on the interaction among vehicles in a sophisticated system that interfaces with ERP, MES, and other enterprise data management systems. The autonomy of the vehicle is one component of a larger interconnected system of autonomous and semi-autonomous activity with the objective of achieving business or organizational objectives, such as delivering the mail or moving soil from a mine to a processing facility.