The robot maker Boston Dynamics this week announced a partnership with Otto Motors, a company specializing in autonomous industrial robots. They have combined their respective solutions to develop a robotic tool specifically designed to simplify the work of humans in warehouses.
The partnership involves the use of the Boston Dynamics’ logistics robot, Handle, and the mobile platform OTTO 1500, to demonstrate the efficiency of this type of equipment in warehouses. While the first is capable of loading and unloading platforms in the warehouse autonomously, the second is a mobile system that transports the cargo from one point to another.
In a video posted on the Boston Dynamics’ YouTube channel, the Handle robot takes cardboard boxes from a specific section of the warehouse and puts them on the OTTO 1500 robotic platform. At this time, the already loaded platform takes the boxes to another location. The whole process occurs without the participation of a human operator. Robots themselves “know” where to stop and which boxes to load. However, the process so far seems imperfect – people would do the same work much faster. Although, perhaps, there is a greater risk to the safety of the cargo.
Last year Boston Dynamics announced its efforts to develop flexible and highly mobile technology for use in warehouses with the aforementioned Handle robot and the Pick computer vision system. Handle’s robotic arm can reach up to 3 m, lift 15 kg, and pick up boxes at a rate of 360 per hour.
The robot underwent several tests as a concept demonstration to customers in its own warehouses also last year, and now the company is working together with Otto Motors to show how it is possible to completely automate these spaces.
“We’ve built a proof of concept demonstration of a heterogeneous fleet of robots building distribution center orders to provide a more flexible warehouse automation solution,” said Boston Dynamics VP of Product Engineering Kevin Blankespoor, in a press release. “To meet the rates that our customers expect, we’re continuing to expand Handle’s capabilities and optimizing its interactions with other robots like the OTTO 1500 for warehouse applications.”
Boston Dynamics and Otto Motors will demonstrate their products during the MODEX event, which will be held from March 9 to 12 in Atlanta, in the United States.