Advanced Robots to Boost Retail Robotics Market

Posted On February 25, 2021     

An activity like packing a bag of groceries of different sizes and shapes without breaking anything is a piece of cake for humans. However, it has been beyond the abilities of robots hitherto.  In order for robots to have this capability, they would require vision systems to locate the product, an intricate Artificial Intelligence that would be able to determine simple things like eggs cannot be put beneath a large carton of milk. Moreover, it would also need a flexible as well as strong hand to grab the items.

The firms are also keen on developing such robots as they would be much more economical for retail business and would be better able to meet consumers’ demand for efficiency. In regards to this a firm is set to develop the type of robots that would be able to do just this, in turn bringing an optimistic change in the Retail Robotics Market as it was the last part of packaging and delivery that lacked efficiency for it being based on human labor.

Ocado is a company that develops systems for supermarkets all over the world.  It is already equipped with highly automated robots that move around a grid, collect groceries, and then give them to a staff member to be packed into boxes, loaded into trucks, and delivered.

The company has already been using five robotic arms at the Erith warehouse. However, creating an efficient robot system with all the necessary qualities is a challenging task as most of the knowledge is theory-based, brought directly from academia. Hence, to move things forward at a faster pace, the company has paid 262 Million Dollars for Kindered Systems (Robotic Sorting Systems) and $ 25 Million for Haddington Dynamics (manufactures light and highly sensitive robot arms).
The experts believe that since Kindered Systems are already used to picking products in clothing warehouses, they can be modified to benefit the retail sector. If the two systems are integrated, machine learning models specialize in grocery related issues and some expertise from Kindered Systems, which they have delved on for a long time. Kindred is particularly advanced in the sector of teleoperations or supervised autonomy (Humans monitor and control several robots remotely).
Ocado is expected to train AI on grocery products used by Kindered from next year. And will work on developing a robot that would replace humans in two or three years.
Experts believe that there would be an increment in the deployment of automation in the next three to five years, which will, in turn, reduce jobs focused on manual labor.  The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has led to such growth of the online grocery market in months that might not have even come in years. For this reason, supermarkets will have to upgrade their systems sooner or later if they want to stay in the game; thus, there must be more focus on enhancing the delivery and efficiency of robotic systems.

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