In the future, warehouses could be staffed completely by robots who can work quicker and longer than human equivalents.
On Monday, US robotics company Boston Dynamics unveiled a new robot called ‘Stretch’ which is designed to move boxes within warehouses.
Moving crates is the robot’s only designated task, but it’s very efficient – shifting up to 800 per hour.
Stretch is the first robot for one task that the company has built, based on requests received from companies around the world, said Michael Perry, vice president of business development for Boston Dynamics.
Previously, Boston Dynamics has created the Spot dog robot and the Atlas humanoid robot.
Advertisement‘We heard pretty much universally across warehousing that truck unloading is one of the most physically difficult and unpleasant jobs, and that’s where Stretch comes into play,’ Perry told Reuters.
Stretch has a small mobile base that allows it to move around tight spaces in existing warehouses without having to reconfigure them for automation.
‘Stretch’ is the new robot from Boston Dynamics (Reuters)It is equipped with an arm and a smart-gripper with advanced sensing and computer vision cameras that can identify and handle a large variety of boxed and shrink wrapped cases.
‘We’re looking at picking up boxes around 23 kilograms, and our maximum rate of picking up and moving boxes can reach up to 800 cases per hour. So, it’s a fast moving, highly versatile robot,’ Perry said.
The robot can shift up to 800 crates an hour (Boston Dynamics)The Massachusetts-based company has gained considerable internet fame from its YouTube videos of Spot and Atlas.
Hyundai recently agreed to buy a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group Corp in a deal that values the robot maker at $1.1 billion.
And Perry said the time is ripe for the new ‘bot on the block’ to capitalise on an ever-increasing consumer demand for speedy home delivery.
It picks up boxes weighing up to 23kg (Boston Dynamics)Analysts say the warehousing sector experienced an extremely strong 2020, with growth expected to continue this year. They point to the dynamics of 2020, as online shopping amid the pandemic drove the need for a massive expansion in order fulfillment services.
Boston Dynamics hasn’t released any pricing for Stretch, but said the system can be installed ‘without requiring costly reconfiguration or investments in new fixed infrastructure.’
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