RoboLingo - An interaction tool kit for robots in intralogistics

  • Project type: Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
  • Research area: Human-Robot-Interaction
  • Contact: Nicolas Niessen
  • Project period: 03/2022 - 02/2024

Initial Situation

Intralogistics in warehouses and factories of the present and especially of the future are a shared workspace for both human and robotic "employees".  They encounter one another in various situations like driving, maneuvering, or loading and unloading. In this environment, new ways must be found to enable efficient, low-friction and harmonious coexistence and cooperation. Communication between logistics robots and the people around them plays a key role here. One example of a communication tool for the robots is the so-called "blue" or "floor spot". This is a spot of light in front of the vehicle, through which it draws attention to itself from a distance before it e.g. drives out from behind an obstacle. So far, there are only isolated communication tools for specific situations, but there is no comprehensive overview of such suitable tools for the various conceivable logistics situations and communication intentions of the robots.


The goal of the RoboLingo project is to create and evaluate a tool kit for selecting robust, context-aware, and intuitive communication tools for robots. The kit will highlight the different situations of human-robot interaction and provide recommendations for appropriate modalities of communication that ensure that the robot's message is correctly understood and interpreted by the people around it at all times. As a result, robot developers and operators can make interactions with robots more efficient whilst achieving greater acceptance of robots.


At first, current and future situations, in which humans and robots interact (and will interact) in logistics, are analyzed, organized and categorized through observations and input from experts. In parallel, communication tools available to robots are explored and examined for their suitability in a logistics context. The collected situations and tools are finally combined in a reasonable way. Among other things, a distinction is made according to the urgency and relevance of the intentions. The communication tools are matched to the tasks according to how comprehensible, predictable, efficient and safe they are. One difficulty is the diversity of both possible robots and possible situations and communication intentions. The focus is therefore on the most important and frequent interactions. To evaluate the communication tools, a series of studies with test persons will be conducted, from which recommendations for developers can be drawn and guidelines for the industry composed.

Research Partner

TUM – Chair of Materials Handling, Material Flow, Logistics (fml)

Project Panel Members

  • BMW AG
  • Filics GmbH
  • HAWE Hydraulik SE
  • Jungheinrich AG
  • KION Group
  • Magazino GmbH
  • robominds GmbH
  • Schiller Automatisierungstechnik GmbH
  • Siemens AG



The IGF project 22234 N of the Forschungsvereinigung Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) e.V. is funded by the AiF within the program for the promotion of joint industrial research (IGF) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action based on a resolution of the German Bundestag.