The machine – human’s best friend

The machine – human’s best friend?

A study on the interaction between human and machine in the warehouse of the future

The majority of the German picking warehouses are currently running operations manually according to person to part principle. The automation technology however is undergoing rapid development and induces radical changes to the order picking process and warehouse technology. Already, there are some technical means to support warehouse workers in the commissioning process. Individual human characteristics, such as age, physical constitution or individual perception as well as some external factors such as stress, noise or light conditions can, however, affect the effectiveness of such systems. Under these circumstances, the question arises how the commissioning process will change in the years to come and how the human-machine interfaces for commissioning and warehouse technology will be designed in the future.

The purpose of this study is therefore to develop possible scenarios for the future commissioning process with regard to the above-mentioned influence factors and technical means. The scenarios will be simulated using a virtual reality simulation model, so that they can be experienced by means of VR glasses. Simulation along with interviews with experts will be used to study, how the influence of human-machine interaction on the process efficiency in the warehouse of the future can be modeled. In particular, the potential of simulations using virtual reality for logistics research should be gauged. The key question of the study can thus be formulated as follows: Can experiments using real human test-persons in virtual reality environments be used in order to study real-world commissioning processes under various influence factors?

Subsequently, the effects of human-machine interaction on the process efficiency for some specific scenarios will be estimated by the means of experiments and expert interviews. Furthermore, additional research gaps regarding the human-machine interaction will be identified.

Key Data

Period: March until September 2017

Sponsor: Forschungsgemeinschaft Intralogistik/Fördertechnik und Logistiksysteme e.V. (IFL)

Partners: KION, viastore, Jungheinrich