Ware tech uses autonomous drones to track warehouse inventory
In recent years, both MIT and Fraunhofer have announced the development of systems that use flying drones to keep track of inventory in warehouses. The Ware system offers a unique take on that same concept, and is already in use at multiple locations.
Developed by a San Francisco-based startup of the same name, Ware incorporates autonomous Skydio 2 quadcopters that charge their batteries while roosting on a "nest" in the warehouse. Following a preprogrammed schedule, they regularly take off and fly along the stacked rows of pallets – going both back-and-forth and up-and-down – returning to the nest when they're done.
As each drone flies, its onboard camera records images of QR-code-like stickers on each rack, along with the bar codes of the individual pallets on that rack. The sticker codes and bar codes are unique to each rack and pallet, respectively.
Therefore, when the video is processed by a cloud-based server, Ware is able to show users which pallets are on which racks – and where those racks are located within the warehouse. Additionally, because the system knows the contents of each pallet, it's able to track how many of any given product are currently in the building.
By contrast, the Fraunhofer and MIT systems aren't vision-based. Instead, they utilize drones that read RFID (radio frequency identification) tags.
Ware is explained further in the video below.