• Photo: GXO / Dexterity

26.02.2024 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 48451

Intelligent robotics

Test run for robot and AI-supported logistics for cosmetics shippers. Combining generative AI with robotics is less self-evident than it may seem at first sight. The marriage of the two technologies is currently being tested in a contract logistics pilot project in a Californian warehouse.

Machines are almost as old as mankind. In the 1950s science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov coined the term ‘robot’ for an artificial worker. At the same time the first true industrial robot, ‘Unimate’, used a mechanical arm to execute commands that had previously been stored on a magnetic coil.

70 years later the Californian technology company Dexterity has now developed a “robot with human-like capabilities” that’s being tested in a contract logistics pilot project by the 3PL GXO.

A suitable field for experimentation

The e-commerce boom, a shortage of workers and the possibility of standardising processes in the warehouse have already encouraged robotics in this field for numerous providers.

Service providers, including Kuehne + Nagel with its concept of “collaborative robots” and Ceva Logistics with new technology in Venray (Netherlands) and Truganina (Australia), are just a few of the many practical examples of robotic support in logistics today.

So what about the “human-like capabilities” of Dexterity’s Californian solution? The robots in the GXO warehouse perform classic activities such as depalletising goods, labelling and repalletising packages, and optimising the incoming and outgoing processes in the warehouse.

The new approach that these intelligent robots use is AI. Thus they require virtually no instructions or settings for their overall operations.

Next chapter of logistics automation?

Machine learning has also been added into the mix. The robots train themselves on the job and de facto improve their performance with each operation.

The manufacturer sees possible applications both for what were previously manual operations or for highly automated warehouses. Does this mean that the next chapter of automation has also been reached in logistics?


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