Robotics

Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors demo robotic warehouse of the future

Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motor...
The demonstration showed the degree to which warehouse automation can go
The demonstration showed the degree to which warehouse automation can go
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The demonstration showed the degree to which warehouse automation can go
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The demonstration showed the degree to which warehouse automation can go

Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors have teamed up for a demonstration of the warehouse of the future. In a newly released video, a Boston Dynamics Handle robot rushes about a storage area at speed as it picks boxes and builds pallets atop an OTTO Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) platform.

Looking like a robotic version of some huge, prehistoric, flightless, meat-eating bird, Handle is alarming the first time you see it in action, but there is a method to this mechanical madness. Revealed by Boston Dynamics in 2019 as the prototype for a new generation of warehouse robots, the agile machine can autonomously pick boxes and load and unload them on pallets and trucks. In operation, Handle's robotic arm can reach up to 3 m (10 ft) and lift 15 kg (33 lb). It can roll about at about 7 mph (11 km/h) and it can pick up boxes at a rate of 360 per hour.

Handle has recently been upgraded with the company's Pick computer vision system and software. According to Boston Dynamics, Pick provides Handle with 2D and 3D vision, allowing the robot to accurately locate and identify boxes in a real-world warehouse environment. The vision system can also send commands to Handle, telling it how to orient boxes and how to handle delicate items.

Pick has already been marketed and installed in robotic work stations around the world and now Boston Dynamics is partnering with OTTO to combine Handle and Pick with OTTO's AMRs to further automate warehouse operations.

"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," says Boston Dynamics VP of Product Engineering Kevin Blankespoor. "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 will be appearing at the Modex 2020 trade show, running from March 9 to 12 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The video below shows the robots in action.

Handle and OTTO robots

Source: Boston Dynamics

2 comments
CraigAllenCorson
They'll need to move a lot faster than that in order to replace humans. I expect that they have the capability, but are still in a learning mode.
Graeme S
Once you displace the workers in the warehouses what are the displaced workers going to do, who is left working and thus earning an income to then support those that have been displaced.
Maybe all this automation is designed to cater to the rich whilst keeping everyone else hungry and poor.