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Autonomous robots help optimize supermarket logistics

Everybody knows automated robots as reliable and robust workers in rough industrial environments. In the automotive plant for welding, for loading a machine tool or for the transport of heavy objects in production: For decades robots have performed tasks that are too heavy or dangerous for humans. Although the acquisition cost is high and the operation of robots requires specialist knowledge an industry dedicated to robotics has developed and established itself.

Different trends in the industry and the consumer market result in thrilling development chances for robotics, predicting an enormous growth in the market for the next 5 to 10 years. Higher processing power and new approaches in sensors and camera technology take the range of solutions into unimagined dimensions.

Long ago first solutions moved from the laboratories into everyday life and are viable business models for robot manufacturers. Manufacturers of cooperative robot arms say: Almost everything can be automated. Further developed sensors eliminate the need for guards, open programming interfaces enable a software optimised by the customer and reduced manufacturing costs open up new market segments.

Interaction between humans and robots has just started and will find its way into many areas. Humanoid robots, "social" robots, autonomous vehicles or special mobile applications: they will quickly result in significant advantages and improvements for customers and users.

Image an autonomous "helper" observes the shelves in a supermarket all day long. As soon as an empty shelf is seen by a camera, this is signalled to the warehouse and the shelf is filled up by an employee. The system continuously learns from the collected data and the logistics in the supermarket becomes more efficient. Product placement, for example, is optimised. Fewer empty shelves reduce losses by missed buying opportunities and quicker product availability increases turnover. Everything a fiction? This is exactly what the company bossanova in San Francisco offers.

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