Precise indoor positioning system for forklifts

Why to track forklifts?

It is important to track forklifts, carts, AGVs, and other vehicles for various purposes:

  • Safety: to prevent collisions, accidents, breaking of vehicles or goods; or have data to analyze the events post factum
  • Productivity: to assign tasks based on location, to know the routes, and to optimize driving
  • Monitoring: receive data from the vehicle (telemetry); send data to the vehicle (tasks) or stop it completely (geo-fencing, emergency)
Marvelmind Indoor Positioning system for forklifts

Other sources about accurate indoor tracking for forklifts and vehicles

What Marvelmind Indoor Positioning System can do for you

Some key functionalities of Marvelmind indoor positioning system for forklifts and vehicles:

  • Precise indoor positioning of forklifts that allows optimizing their utilization
  • Precise outdoor positioning with outdoor or industrial versions of beacons
  • Static geofencing zones
  • Mobile geofencing zones, for example, around your moving vehicle – to alert drivers and people
  • Sending telemetry data and commands from your vehicle (battery voltage, the position of tools, readings of meters, etc.) using our embedded radio
  • Sending data and commands to the vehicle (switching on and off of something, waypoints, control commands, etc.) using our embedded radio

Typical real-time tracking data

Users get multiple realtime tracking data. Some key facts:

  • Location streaming with 1-10 Hz (1-10 updates per second) per forklift
  • Accuracy of tracking ±2cm
  • Geofencing violations in the stream
  • All streamed data is recorded in the local CSV files for post-processing by you
  • Open API to control the system via your GUI
  • No data is leaving your premises. No need for a cloud. Everything is calculated locally. Very secure
Different color dots on the tracking screenshot below – tracks of different 6 forklifts simultaneously at a warehouse sourcing facility.
Circles with the number – different forklifts.


Precise indoor tracking of forklifts - Marvelmind Dashboard view

Digital twins and visualization options

The screenshots from our Dashboard show examples of what you see when you set up and monitor the system using our default tools, which can be easily downloaded right away. They are good, practical, and sufficient for many users.

However, if you want something more advanced and fancier – 3D visualization (Unity-based or Unity-like), digital twins, and similar innovative solutions for data visualization – it can be provided upon request. We have partners that specialize in digital twins and 3D visualization. They have integrated our precise indoor positioning system into their visualization tools.

Open protocol and interfaces.

You can easily use your GUI with our system. The API to control our system from your GUI is open and ready for downloading.

The same is valid for the easy integration on the interface and protocol levels – open protocol and interfaces.

Remember that you get the location data, IMU data from the mobile beacon and from the modem, but you also can send additional user data – your own data from your system via our modem to our beacons and then to from the beacon to your forklift. The same is possible in the opposite direction as well.

Recommended configurations for forklifts and other vehicles

Natural questions arise immediately:

  1. What equipment shall we use?
  2. How many beacons are required to cover a warehouse?

Recommended equipment

There are several basic questions that shall be answered when choosing the equipment:

  • Indoor only or outdoor as well? Level of ingress protection
  • Overall mechanical rigidness?
  • Method to mount
  • Stationary or mobile?
  • Radio connectivity, distances, antennas?
  • Power supply options? AC or DC?
  • How many mobile beacons/forklifts do you plan to track? It will define the architecture. And the architecture will define the types of beacons


How many beacons are required to cover the warehouse?

The answer depends on:
  • The complexity of the warehouse: an open area requires 2-6 times fewer beacons than an area densely packed with aisle
  • Size of the warehouse
  • How stretchy do you want to configure the system? More densely placed beacons provide better coverage but are more prone to interference
  • How many mobile objects do you want to track?
  • What are the objects? Forklifts only or also people, AGVs, robots, drones, vehicles, cranes?
  • Do you want to have 2D or 3D as well, for example, the fork itself – not only the forklift?
The questions are rather simple and described in more detail here: Network Planning and Implementation.
For example, for a large but simple 450x450m open-space warehouse, the implemented configuratiion included 123 stationary Super-Beacons.
Infrastructure to track forklifts in a warehouse

Overall, it is the best and the safest choice when you are not sure what to choose or what exact experiments you will run, but you want to have the most straightforward solution with the greatest flexibility and the greatest performance at the same time.


Marvelmind Starter Set Super-MP for precise indoor positioning system

The easiest and recommended configuration consists of Super-Beacons-Outdoor and Modem-Outdoor.

The least expensive configuration:

You will get 2D tracking in one submap with a maximum distance.

Industrial Super-Beacons and Super-Modem are recommended when you have to operate indoors and outdoors, work with temperatures below 0C (Industrial beacons do not have embedded batteries that could fail in sub-zero temperatures), or need industrial connectivity such as RS485 or CAN.

Recommended minimum configuration:

Industrial Super-Beacon-Plastic front page

Other important aspects to pay attention to

Super-Modem is undoubtedly more powerful, having industrial interfaces (RS485) and better protected than Modem v5.1. Super-Modem even has WiFi inside.

However, Super-Modem is more complex to use:

  • WiFi settings may confuse you
  • Instead of a basic USB, Super-Modem uses a special USB-to-7p-IP67 connector

Therefore, particularly at the beginning, we recommend using Modem v5.1-Outdoor instead of Super-Modem. And later – when you become more familiar – you can easily switch to the Super-Modem.

The industrial environment is often radio propagation unfriendly:

  • Multiple metal walls or constructions (shelves, etc.). That leads to heavy multi-path propagation with very deep minimums in radio signal strength
  • Large distances – to hundreds of meters or even more
  • Potential interference from multiple other sources

Therefore, we recommend using full-size antennas. They can’t solve radio problems but minimize the chances of having them.

In some cases, special directional antennas on the modem side or the farther-end beacons can be recommended.

For even larger cases, we recommend Multi-Modem configurations. Each Super-Modem is responsible for its map. And they send their data to a Super-Super-Modem that unites maps into a super-map that the end user sees as a seamless map. See more about the Multi-Modem configurations in the Presentation.

Using Marvelmind Indoor "GPS" for precise tracking of forklifts indoor

Below is an example of the track of a forklift movement in a warehouse:
  • Open warehouse
  • Green dots – positions of stationary beacons placed on the ceiling. Distances between beacons are about 10-15 meters. They are placed to provide coverage to each gate optimally
  • Blue track – movements of a forklift in recorded in a couple of minutes
  • A small window on the right – basic analytics like average speed, maximum speed, covered distance, etc.
Dashboard view for precise indoor tracking of forklifts

The picture above depicts how the track is seen in our Dashboard. However, customers typically integrate our location data into their own graphical user interface (GUI) or warehouse management system (WMS). It is straightforward to do using the available API.

Even easier it is when the Super-Modem is used as a modem. The location data is streamed via UDP over WiFi to your fixed IP address anywhere in the world. Overthere the data is taken using our open protocols and shown in your WMS or GUI.

Examples of precise indoor positioning for vehicles

Precise (±2cm) tracking of 10 forklifts 5,000 miles away


  • Warehouse (660’x60′)
  • 10 forklifts with a Super-Beacon with an Omni-Microphone per forklift
  • 14 x stationary Super-Beacons to cover the whole warehouse
  • 1 x Modem v5.1 as a central controller – Inverse Architecture (IA) with fully-overlapping TDMA submaps
  • Full remote deployment over TeamViewer
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