Matt Simon for Wired: "Companies like Amazon and others are now delivering products at an unprecedented rate, something like 500 packages per second. And that is only going to grow."
Nick Statt for The Verge: Kindred's new production model robots, now called Kindred Sort, have been operating in a pilot program at a Gap warehouse, with plans to expand the fleet of robots to help the retailer's full fulfillment network down the line.
Michael Pooler for FT.com: An industrial dance takes place every day and night on the floor of Amazon's huge warehouse in Manchester.
BBC: Cartman - a budget-priced robot from Australia - has triumphed in an annual contest to create a machine that can identify, pick up and stow warehouse goods.
Joshua Brustein for Bloomberg: Teams competing in Amazon's third-annual contest tackle a problem that has kept companies from automating warehouses entirely.
The Amazon Robotics Challenge will award up to $250,000 in prizes and encourages idea sharing and innovation within the robotics and automation community
Ashley Nickle for The Packer: SuperPick - short for supervisory picking - aims to provide the depth perception and recognition of 3-D using 2-D hardware and human oversight.
Sarah Kessler for Quartz: A startup called RightHand robotics recently began piloting technology that automates a task robots have previously struggled to master: recognizing and picking up items from boxes.
Patrick Clark and Kim Bhasin for Bloomberg Technology: It was Amazon that drove America's warehouse operators into the robot business. Quiet Logistics, which ships apparel out of its Devens, Mass., warehouse, had been using robots made by a company called Kiva Systems. When Amazon bought Kiva in 2012, Quiet hired scientists.
Robotics startup Exotec raises $3.5 million to help warehouses pack and dispatch goods using mini robots
Paul Sawers for Venture Beat: A French robotics startup has raised €3.3 million ($3.5 million) to build and grow a fleet of mobile robots that help warehouses prepare orders for delivery. The company was founded in 2015 by former GE Healthcare software architect Renaud Heitz and BA Systèmes technical director Romain Moulin, and Exotec Solutions (“Exotec”) robots have already been tested across a number of industries. With $3.5 million more in its coffers, the company expects to launch its first robot — called Exo — into the wild in early 2017. The most recent round was raised from 360 Capital Partners, Breega Capital, and a handful of its existing investors. The miniature robots are being targeted at any logistics operator that relies on humans to traverse large warehouses picking items off shelves, and it promises to cut employees’ average daily distance covered from 15km to 4km per day and to “[double] the productivity” of each worker. The robots are controlled by what the company calls a “centralized intelligence system,” which liaises between the humans and the robots on the ground. Cont'd...
The system has been designed to enable the picking surface to be changed very quickly.
Eugene Kim for Business Insider: It wasn't until 2014 that Amazon really started to use the machines made by Kiva, the robotics company it bought for $775 million in 2012. Kiva makes robots that automate the picking and packing process at large warehouses. But in the short two years they've been deployed across Amazon's warehouses, Kiva's robots have been a real cost saver, according to a new note published by Deutsche Bank on Wednesday. The note says Kiva robots have cut operating expenses by about 20%, quoting Amazon exec Dave Clark, adding that it would translate to roughly $22 million in cost savings for each fulfillment center. Additionally, Deutsche Bank estimates Amazon could cut another $800 million in one-time cost savings once it deploys more Kiva robots across the 110 fulfillment centers that don't have them yet. Amazon uses Kiva robots in only 13 of its fulfillment centers currently. Cont'd...
The new robotic movers no longer need to travel fixed routes, as they can be programmed while on the move. Focusing on automated materials handling processes, and the underlying robot perception technology, companies will be employing this sophisticated, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence now and in the future.
Designed to navigate freely and dynamically amongst a human workforce, TORU operates between regular shelves, picking a wide range of objects.
DAVEY ALBA for Wired: Locus Robotics is an offshoot of Massachusetts-based Quiet Logistics, a third-party order fulfillment company that gets merchandise out the door for big apparel retailers like Zara, Gilt Groupe, and Bonobos. And the idea behind its bots isn’t just to replace humans, but to create a system where everyone can work together more efficiently. What most people don’t realize in the age of push-button shopping is the “shopping” part doesn’t disappear. You the consumer are no longer at the store doing the physical work of tracking down the thing you want. But somebody still has to do it. For e-commerce, that task typically falls to a worker at a distribution center who must locate the product, make sure it’s not damaged, and send it off to be packed and shipped. This can be grueling, tedious work. More than anything else, it’s about walking. Lots of walking. Locus aims to have its bots do the walking instead. Cont'd...
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