A Combinatorial Packing Algorithm and Standard Trunk Geometry for ISO Luggage Packing

E. Shellshear, J.S. Carlson, R. Bohlin. ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, August 12, 2012, 307-313


Automated packing algorithms for luggage compartments in automobiles are of great interest. The difficulty of automatically computing the volume of a mesh representation of a boot ac- cording to the ISO 3832 standard restricts the design of vehicles required to meet minimal trunk volume specifications and also increases the cost of physical and virtual verification of the original design specifications. In our paper we present a new heuristic combinatorial packing algorithm for the ISO luggage packing standard. The algorithm presents numerous advantages over previous algorithms in terms of its simplicity and speed as well as producing high density of packed objects. The algorithm also solves the problem of requiring a fixed grid structure to position discrete objects in the boot and can also be used as an additional optimization on existing algorithms. In addition, we also provide the first comparison of state of the art packing algorithms for a simplified trunk geometry and propose a standard trunk geometry to enable future researchers to compare their results with other packing algorithms.


The authors are deeply indebted to Saab automobile for providing us with the trunk model geometry to be used in this and future scientific investigations. In addition, the author is greatly indebted to Santosh Tiwari and Kai Werth for their cooperation in running their algorithms for the sake of comparison in this paper as well as their help in creating a closed mesh representation of the original trunk. To acquire the trunk presented in this paper, interested parties are asked to contact the corresponding author for a copy of the relevant geometry. This work was carried out at the Wingquist Laboratory VINN Excellence Centre, and is part of the Sustainable Production Initiative and the Production Area of Advance at Chalmers University of Technology. It was supported by the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems.

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Shellshear, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • J.S. Carlson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • R. Bohlin, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre

Photo credits: Nic McPhee