making 'transport' robots smarter
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Imagine a team of humans and robots working together to process online orders—real-life workers strategically positioned among their automated coworkers who are moving intelligently back and forth in a warehouse space, picking items for shipping to the customer. This could become a reality sooner than later, thanks to researchers at the University of Missouri, who are working to speed up the online delivery process by developing a software model designed to make “transport” robots smarter.

“The robotic technology already exists,” said Sharan Srinivas, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering and the Department of Marketing. “Our goal is to best utilize this technology through efficient planning. To do this, we’re asking questions like ‘given a list of items to pick, how do you optimize the route plan for the human pickers and robots?’ or ‘how many items should a robot pick in a given tour?’ or ‘in what order should the items be collected for a given robot tour?’ Likewise, we have a similar set of questions for the human worker. The most challenging part is optimizing the collaboration plan between the human pickers and robots.”

Currently, a lot of human effort and labor costs are involved with fulfilling online orders. To help optimize this process, robotic companies have already developed collaborative robots—also known as cobots or autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)—to work in a warehouse or distribution center. The AMRs are equipped with sensors and cameras to help them navigate around a controlled space like a warehouse. The proposed model will help create faster fulfillment of customer orders by optimizing the key decisions or questions pertaining to collaborative order picking, Srinivas said.

“The robot is intelligent, so if it’s instructed to go to a particular location, it can navigate the warehouse and not hit any workers or other obstacles along the way,” Srinivas said.

Srinivas, who specializes in data analytics and operations research, said AMRs are not designed to replace human workers, but instead can work collaboratively alongside them to help increase the efficiency of the order fulfillment process. For instance, AMRs can help fulfill multiple orders at a time from separate areas of the warehouse quicker than a person, but human workers are still needed to help pick items from shelves and place them onto the robots to be transported to a designated drop-off point inside the warehouse.

“The one drawback is these robots do not have good grasping abilities,” Srinivas said. “But humans are good at grasping items, so we are trying to leverage the strength of both resources—the human workers and the collaborative robots. So, what happens in this case is the humans are at different points in the warehouse, and instead of one worker going through the entire isle to pick up multiple items along the way, the robot will come to the human worker, and the human worker will take an item and put it on the robot. Therefore, the human worker will not have to strain himself or herself in order to move large carts of heavy items throughout the warehouse.”

Srinivas said a future application of their software could also be applied in other locations such as grocery stores, where robots could be used to fill orders while also navigating among members of the general public. He could see this potentially happening within the next three-to-five years.

“Collaborative order picking with multiple pickers and robots: Integrated approach for order batching, sequencing and picker-robot routing” was published in the International Journal of Production Economics. Shitao Yu, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at MU, is a co-author of the study. More information: Sharan Srinivas et al, Collaborative order picking with multiple pickers and robots: Integrated approach for order batching, sequencing and picker-robot routing, International Journal of Production Economics (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2022.108634 Provided by University of Missouri Citation: Making ‘transport’ robots smarter (2022, November 29) retrieved 29 November 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-11-robots-smarter.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

6 other zombie shows and movies to watch if you’re loving The Last of Us

HBO has done it once again, delivering via the apocalyptic The Last of Us yet another prestige drama that’s become the network’s newest must-watch series — one about which both critics and fans have not stopped raving since its debut this past weekend. Ahead of episode two of the ...

View more: 6 other zombie shows and movies to watch if you’re loving The Last of Us

Anker’s New Monitor Stand Doubles as an All-In-One Docking Station

Anker The average USB docking station is just an ugly gray box. So, for those who want something a bit more flashy, Anker is launching the 675 12-in-1 USB Docking Station, which doubles as a monitor stand. It’s an impressive-looking product, and it offers plenty of ports for all ...

View more: Anker’s New Monitor Stand Doubles as an All-In-One Docking Station

M2 Pro and M2 Max benchmark results show a 30% faster GPU

Geekbench scores already showed how faster the M2 Pro processor is compared to the M1 Max chip in CPU performance. Now, new tests spotted by MacRumors highlight the graphic performance of the M2 Pro and M2 Max are about 30% faster than their predecessors. These tests align with what ...

View more: M2 Pro and M2 Max benchmark results show a 30% faster GPU

TikTok EU ban on the table if social network doesn’t comply with new laws

TikTok is one of the most popular social networks out there. But TikTok is also a cause of concern for western governments that worry about the company’s ties to the Chinese government. TikTok can’t run on most devices the US government issues, and there has been talk of a ...

View more: TikTok EU ban on the table if social network doesn’t comply with new laws

Don’t Buy a Foldable Until Samsung Brings This Prototype to Life

Samsung Display via The Verge The world of foldable phones is surprisingly stagnant. The Galaxy Z Fold gets a tiny little upgrade every year, and rival phone brands loosely copy Samsung’s homework. But a new Samsung Display prototype called the “Flex In & Out” could turn this narrative on ...

View more: Don’t Buy a Foldable Until Samsung Brings This Prototype to Life

Best free sports streaming apps in 2023

Cutting the cord on cable television is something tons of people have done over the past five years. But that hasn’t proven to be the smartest way to continue to watch sports. Whether it comes from premium sports website subscriptions to keep tabs on your favorite players, or even fantasy ...

View more: Best free sports streaming apps in 2023

Avengers 5 might have Ant-Man in it, Quantumania star teases

The first MCU Phase 5 movie will be Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third installment in the Ant-Man franchise and a film with much higher stakes than the previous episodes. The sequel will deliver the MCU’s first Kang (Jonathan Majors) villain after we met a somewhat good He Who ...

View more: Avengers 5 might have Ant-Man in it, Quantumania star teases

Sharing a Netflix Account? Get Ready to Pay For It

DANIEL CONSTANTE/Shutterstock.com Netflix is about to get serious in its efforts to eliminate freeloaders. If you share a Netflix account with family or friends outside your household, get ready to pay for it. A new “paid sharing” system could roll out starting next month, and you’ll have to pay a ...

View more: Sharing a Netflix Account? Get Ready to Pay For It

‘7 Wonders’ Board Game Gets a New ‘Edifice’ Expansion

T-Mobile Kicks Off 2023 With Another Data Breach

Apple appeals to UK competition watchdog investigation about mobile browser dominance

Galaxy S23 Ultra release date and specs leak finally reveals everything about the new model

8 Best Smart Home Automation Apps for Android and iOS

WhatsApp for iOS rolling out the ability to create a chat with yourself

Amazon Prime Music Unlimited changes streaming prices, now matches Apple Music

Domain.com review

Deadpool 3 and Secret Wars to feature Fox’s X-Men, according to Marvel insider

Report: OLED iPad Pro still on track for 2024 release, 2026 for MacBook Pro

How to negotiate over practically anything

HomePod 2 praised in exclusive hands-on before launch

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News