Precise indoor positioning system for forklifts

Problems to solve with forklifts and vehicles

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

  • Safety: to prevent collisions, accidents, breaking of vehicles or goods
  • Productivity: to assign tasks based on location, to know the routes, and to optimize driving
  • Monitoring: receive data from the vehicle; send data to the vehicle or stop it completely
Marvelmind Indoor Positioning system for forklifts

What Marvelmind Indoor Positioning System can do for you

Some key functionalities for forklifts and vehicles:

  • Precise indoor positioning of forklifts that will allow optimizing their utilization
  • Precise outdoor positioning with outdoor or industrial versions of beacons
  • Static geo-fencing zones
  • Mobile geo-fencing 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

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.

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
  • Opened a small window on the right – basic analytics like average speed, maximum speed, covered distance, etc.
  • The floorplan can be easily uploaded to the Dashboard
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

Contact us via with any questions