Cybernet Systems Corporation has recently received two patents that represent advances in autonomous logistics: Autonomous vehicles and methods of zone driving and System and method for generating precise road lane map data
 Autonomous vehicles and methods of zone driving

The patent describes Cybernet’s invention that makes autonomous vehicles (such as forklifts) capable of executing tasks while following on-street “rules of the road,” and transitioning to and from “zones,” like off-street areas, which have different governing regulations. The on-board memory stores roadgraph (i.e., road map) information, and an on-board computer executes driving missions using that information.

This includes missions with one or more zones, in which each zone is defined by a sub-roadgraph within its own set of zone-specific rules. A mission may involve multiple payload operations, including zones with “free drive paths.” Such zones may include warehouses with loading and unloading zones where vehicles pick up payloads and put them down, zone staging, or entry points to other locations of payload acquisition or placement. 

A localization system determines the vehicle’s location relative to the roadgraph coordinate system. This system may include GPS technology to discern latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as barcode location markers and visual sensing of environmental structures external to the vehicle for localization overwatch indoors. An obstacle detection system is used to avoid structures along the vehicle’s driving path. 

The patent was granted in late February 2024 and recognizes Cybernet’s inventors Glenn Beach, Douglas Haanpaa, Charles Jacobus, and Steven Rowe.

System and method for generating precise road lane map data

Cybernet’s other new patent describes an in-vehicle system capable of generating precise, lane-level road map data, which includes a GPS receiver that acquires positional information involved in determining an accurate track along a road path. An inertial sensor provides time local measurement of acceleration and turn rate along the track in three dimensions, while a camera (of a look-ahead or a look-behind variety) captures image data of the road path along that track. A processor receives the local measurement from the inertial sensor and image data from the camera over time, and it improves the GPS receiver’s accuracy through curve fitting by working with multiple tracks along the road path. 

“This patent represents a significant amount of team effort,” said Charles Jacobus, Cybernet’s chairman. “We’re all about developing solutions across multiple industries, and virtually all those industries are concerned with transportation logistics and the impact it has on their business operations. I can’t wait to see how our work at Cybernet will improve the future efficiency and safety of those operations. This patent is an exciting step forward.”

One example of this invention could involve one or all these items (GPS receiver, inertial sensor and/or the camera) in a smartphone. 

The system may later include a transmitter to communicate road map data to a central data repository for post processing to generate precise road map data, which may include lane locations within roads based on data collected from multiple drivers. That central data repository may also receive road map data for post processing when the vehicle passes through a Wi-Fi cloud. This data might include paths around transient road features, such as construction sites and traffic diversions, which would enable data updates for multiple vehicles, and could be autonomous or “driverless.” 

The patent recognizes Cybernet’s Charles Jacobus, Glenn Beach, Douglas Haanpaa, and Charles Cohen as the inventors, who received it in early March.

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