Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

J. van der Niet Intelligent Agents in de Logistiek
Literature survey, Report 2005.TL.6963, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

An intelligent agent is a system, which is capable to execute tasks, to communicate, and to take decisions by its own based upon observations, own knowledge and cognitive competencies. The capability to learn and to extend the knowledge is another quality of intelligent agents, which is used to adapt to any changes in the environment of the system.

Intelligent agents play an important role in the automation and the development of new technologies in order to optimize processes. For these continuous improvements often more and more intelligent agents are used to take over roles and responsibilities in existing processes. Also within the logistics the number of processes making use of intelligent agents for the management and execution of tasks is growing. When studying several applications of intelligent agents in the logistics, it turns out that
there is a difference between the theoretical approach and the practical use of these agents. The role of intelligent agents in logistic systems is often pre-programmed for executing a subtask of the process. The agents usually combine these subtasks with a communication and monitoring role.

Despite the fact that the agents in logistical practice have less 'intelligent' qualities than the agents described in the theory, still there are a number of advantages with the use of intelligent agents in the logistics. By using agents in logistic systems, processes are becoming faster, more stable and more simplified. Taking into account all these advantages, it is very significant to continue the use of intelligent agents in order to improve logistic systems.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2005.06.19; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.