Forklift Warners – How Simple Ideas Move Standstill

The standstill has had to endure a lot. With latent misanthropic relish, Nietzsche let us know that "The tendency of the toward stagnation and preservation, there is nothing creative in it." The standstill comes off better for Marie Ebner-Eschenbach, who not only credits the stopped clock with the obligatory two correct displays of the time per day, but also attests to it that it "looks back on a long series of successes after years." True. In fact, however, standing still in general and staying still in particular is by no means the fundamental end of all progress: In the case of Cognizant Mobility's clever forklift truck warning system, it is actually the desired result.


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The emergence of the forklift warning

We also like to get metaphorical with ideas, but we’ll remain quite pragmatic: As early as 2020, (today:) Cognizant Mobility GmbH (then still ESG Mobility GmbH) was able to convince with a clever concept for social distancing in order to contribute to the conscious handling of distances even in pandemic times – the Corona distance warning.

When customers approached Cognizant Mobility in 2021 for specific information on the extent to which this social distancing could be applied to forklifts, for example, the company benefited from its test deck, on which the aforementioned distance warning system is also based. This not only enables flexible adaptation of the use cases – s see also our article on the cut-to-length helper based on the same technology. – but also a very fast implementation.

In addition, the story of the forklift warning is a good example of the versatility of the system, which can also show the limits of established inventory solutions. After all, existing implementations are often produced in high volumes and are not customizable, are expensive, are not plug-and-play, or, the worst case scenario, a company’s existing forklifts would have to be extensively modified. Cognizant Mobility’s forklift alert was developed quickly and appropriately, comes out-of-the-box (unplug-and-play, so to speak), and can be applied to forklifts of any age and equally regardless of manufacturer.

So what exactly is the forklift warning system?

On a technical level, we are talking about one or more devices for precise positioning, based on ultra-wideband technology, for which Cognizant Mobility offers proven expertise and knowledgeable players such as Jens Schmidt, site manager of the Fulda branch. If you would like to learn more about the topic of “UWB”, we recommend our detailed article on the definition and function of this technology.

From a practical point of view, the forklift alarm consists of two different basic components, of which the “forklift” device is mounted on the forklift truck. Pedestrians receive a “Guard” device that they carry.

Functional representation of the Cognizant Mobility forklift warning system

If a pedestrian falls below the safe distance from a forklift on company property, the driver is alerted by a three-component warning system in which the “Forklift” device vibrates, emits an alarm tone and emits visual light warnings. This basic system can be easily expanded to include many forklifts and pedestrians, works through objects, and is based on the latest technology to increase safety on the premises. And one would not want to leave unmentioned that this is mostly also absolutely necessary: In statistics last collected in 2019, 31,787 accidents involving industrial trucks (which absolutely include forklifts) were recorded, of which forklifts were involved in 13,689 accidents – or about 43 percent of all accidents. In terms of serious accidents, participation even grows to 70 percent. Numbers that are countered by the Stacker-Warner as a clever and quickly deployable solution.

What makes the Forklift Warner different from existing solutions?

In addition to the modern, UWB technology-based technology of the forklift warning device itself, three features stand out in particular:

  • The pedestrian is also warned

The best system is useless if the person to be warned is distracted and does not react in time. The “Guard” device is the counterpart to the “Forklift” and also warns the user by audio, light and vibration alarms if the safe distance (previously defined individually) is not reached.

  • No unnecessary warning when the truck is stationary

Anyone who wants to park their vehicle and is still loudly warned by the distance warning system while getting in and out tends to deactivate the system. Understandable – but still a source of danger. Thanks to precise position determination, the forklift warning system recognizes when the forklift is stationary and dispenses with unnecessary warnings.

  • Out of the Box: Immediate use

Solutions must be simple. In the rear part of the “Forklift” device there is a magnet. With this, you attach the device at ear and sight level in/on the forklift: ready is the on-board implementation.

Cognizant Mobility’s Forklift Warner is already in successful use at various customers and has been preventing accidents in the logistics sector ever since.

How do I get the forklift alerter?

We will be happy to provide you with the forklift alerter and help you make your company premises safe as well. At you can find out even more details about device(s) and mode(s) of operation, and get in touch with us either there or via our contact form – we’ll be happy to take the time to talk to you.

In the end, it remains to be said that neither Nietzsche nor Ebner-Eschenbach could have guessed how deliberate stagnation can sometimes be, and that too by means of a methodology that has established itself out of a literally moving industry. However, it also skilfully shows how there are opportunities beyond one’s own nose if one only has the will and desire to think outside the box. For another example of how insights from automotive data science are even reaching into the medical field, check out this article.