Google looking to expand its impact on warehouse management?
It was announced this week that Google was awarded a patent in which a strategy was outlined for making sure autonomous robots in a warehouse are not overloaded as they carry goods around a facility. The curious part of this announcement is the fact that there is no indication that Google was, or is, developing autonomous transportation robots for a warehouse. The company has released bits of information regarding other robotics projects including humanoid robots and delivery drones, but no specific warehouse bots used to transfer goods, as shown in its latest patent.
The proposed theoretical bot controlling system could be used to prevent the warehouse bots from moving if they are overloaded or improperly loaded. Furthermore, the system is also designed to regulate a bots speed to ensure the safe loading and transportation of goods. The creation of this system may be the company’s next step toward a completely automated warehouse which will likely include the delivery drones it is developing in its Project Wing endeavor. The controlling system for transport-bots, along with its developments in picking and packing robots and drone delivery advancements signify a great focus in the field of warehouse automation.
Read more on Google’s plans here.
DHL currently running tests with warehouse robots in Germany
Google wasn’t the only company that made headlines this week on the topic of robots in warehouses. DHL also created a press release covering the topic of its current innovative pilot program with warehouse robots, also referred to as a picker’s companion. The robot being tested is called Effi-BOT and was created by the French start-up Effidence. It is designed to autonomously follow pickers on their picking routes through the warehouse and carry the items being selected. This eliminates a lot of the heavy pulling and lifting for warehouse workers. Once the orders are fully loaded, the robot drops them off at the appropriate location.
So far, workers have reacted positively to their new “companions” as they are able to work hands-free for the most part, and no longer have to push and pull heavy carts along their routes. Pickers are also subject to shorter overall walking distances with the help of the Effi-BOT due to the reduction of single-picked heavy orders. Next to the picking companion, DHL is also testing robots in the co-packing and mobile piece picking functions.
Read more on DHL’s robot tests here.
International freight start-up inspired by Expedia business model
iContainers is a start-up looking to simplify the transportation of goods from one warehouse to another. The new firm wants to make this process as simple as booking a hotel room, and company CEO Jaime Jimenez is drawing inspiration from Expedia’s business model, a website designed to simplify travel planning. The shipping industry is lagging in terms of digitization, and iContainers is looking to change that. According to Jimenez, it only takes 3 minutes for anyone interested in shipping something to find a quote and product combination and book a shipment. The aim is to reduce the stress and costs associated with transporting freight internationally. The new service can help reduce the amount of copious paperwork associated with a non-digitized process. Furthermore, a new level of transparency can be obtained across the entire shipping process. Customers are able to customize shipping routes based on several factors, including price, vendor and timing.
iContainers shows a lot of promise in the quest to digitize the international freight transportation process, and investors seem to agree with this sentiment. The company recently raised $6.7 million, bringing their fundraising total to $9 million.
Read more on this innovative shipping start-up here.
Have a great weekend!