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The digital twin of a warehouse - KION closes research project ARIBIC

The KION Group and its cooperating partners from science and business successfully closed the research project “ARIBIC”. The acronym stands for “Artificial Intelligence-Based Indoor Cartography”: continuous data evaluation makes it possible to create a real-time digital twin of a warehouse or a production environment. This is a further step in order to enhance already existing digital twin solutions as well as simulation and emulation platforms of KION Group.


Automated guided vehicles are already being used on a large scale in warehouses and production facilities today. With modern sensor technology such as laser scanners and cameras, they find their way safely through racks, production lines, and warehouses. In the process, they continuously generate a considerable amount of data about the environment in which they move. However, this data is usually not yet systematically processed and lies fallow. What if the full potential of these bits and bytes could be exploited?

"In the international research project ARIBIC we have worked with universities and partners like Google to develop the AI platform of the future," says Ching Pong Quek, Chief Technology Officer of the KION Group. "This technology can be described as Google Maps for Intralogistics allowing the real time localisation of all goods and forklift trucks in a warehouse to become reality."

The Google Maps for Intralogistics

Systematic data processing is precisely where the ARIBIC digitization project implemented by the STILL, a KION Group subsidiary supplying industrial trucks and related services, comes in. The data collected by the sensors on the vehicles are used to create high-quality, high-resolution 3D maps of warehouses or production facilities. A digital twin of the environment is created, thus enabling relevant information to be displayed and shared in real time. “Today, many industrial companies apply so-called post-digitization of their production environments and warehouses. However, this only captures a snapshot,” adds Dr. Joachim Tödter, Senior Director Technology & Innovation at the KION Group.

ARIBIC: The AI platform of the future in intralogistics.

The data generated by the sensor system is sent to the vehicle, processed there, and sent to the ARIBIC cloud platform. The sensor data is then processed further in the cloud. The advantages of this solution are obvious: firstly, the user receives live information about object locations via tracking & tracing. This information makes it possible, for example, to simulate the routes of vehicles and thus optimize processes in the warehouse and production. At the same time, intelligent digital services offer the advantage that anomalies such as a blocked route are detected and reported. The consistent evaluation of the data shall ultimately lead to a warehouse’s entire structure being optimized and adapted.

The idea for the research project originated in the summer of 2019 in the Technology & Innovation department of KION Group. At the beginning of 2021, the project was approved by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), and funding was secured. The research project is one of several cooperations KION Group has already started with different partners.