UK researchers are helping to develop smart robots for Japanese IT group Hitachi that can quickly move goods in warehouses or on assembly lines.
Based on multiple artificially intelligent components that work together, the system is almost 40% faster than its predecessor, according to the University of Edinburgh.
The technology integrates the control of the picking robot and automated guided vehicle (AGV) to smoothly pick-up specific products from goods carried by the AGV.
A smart camera, pre-programmed with details about the products to be moved, scans items as they are conveyed by the automated vehicle towards a robot arm.
Data collected by the camera influences the speed of the vehicle carrying the goods, and informs how the robot arm picks up items as they pass.
The AGV and robot arm can move closer to each other at optimal speeds to avoid collision based on the state of the goods stacked on the AGV, enabling smooth picking by the robot arm without stopping the vehicle, Hitachi explained.
The Japanese company said it will work towards commercialising a robot system for warehouse operations as well as developing technology to increase the speed and automation of processes.
The design of the trajectory, path planning and control of the robotic arm was developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.
“Our robotics lab has been at the forefront of machine learning techniques for adaptive motion planning and control of complex multi-degree of freedom robots and this provides an excellent opportunity to see this expertise used to solve real-world problems,” said Professor Sethu Vijayakumar from the School of Informatics.