Delft, The Netherlands, 11 July 2017. Today Unmanned Life and Prime Vision presented the results of the proof of concept and performed a live demonstration for Post NL of their Autonomous Sorting solution. The Post NL delegation was led by their Global CEO Herna Verhaegen. With an empty warehouse as a venue, the presentation demonstrated a sorting center manned only by autonomous robotic UV’s (Unmanned Vehicles) controlled by Unmanned Life´s software platform.
Prime Vision, a leading solutions provider for the postal, parcel, logistics and airport markets and Unmanned Life, the world’s first AI-driven software platform to manage autonomous drone fleets for commercial use, are collaborating to develop this pioneering solution for the broader mail and parcel industry with Post NL being one of the first potential customers.
This ‘pop-up’ sorting centre can be deployed in any building in less than a day. These UV’s or ‘Rovers’ require no other equipment or existing plant to operate and are safe to work alongside human workers. The system can be scaled up or down and rovers can even be dispatched to other locations depending on the days requirements.
“It is clear that robotics offers great potential to the logistics industry. The concept Unmanned Life and Prime Vision have developed and are showing today, is incredibly convincing and outlines the future for robotics in our industry” said Eddy Thans, CEO of Prime Vision. “I truly believe that Autonomous Sorting can alleviate the challenges resulting from the fast-growing parcel volumes created by e-commerce. The flexibility and scalability of Autonomous Sorting is unrivaled and clearly demonstrates the ease with which postal companies can scale up or down to meet the seasonal demands without the need for large investment.
“We believe it will be a game-changer for postal and express parcel carriers alike. We like to describe it as Sorting without a Sorter”, Kumardev Chatterjee, CEO of Unmanned life, adds.
In simple terms, the autonomous solution applies the latest robotics technology to create an army of Rovers that behave similarly to worker bees. Swarming algorithms determine the actions of these bees enabling them to identify, assess, sort and physically transport items to their dispatch location.
Whether seasonal demand, a temporary location, or an excessive workload, the system can be easily deployed to bring a rapid, flexible solution to any short-term problem and is robust enough to become the backbone of smaller logistics centres. Once in place, the solution can run specific hours or 24/7 with the capability to operate a throughput up to initially 15,000 parcels per hour.
The Autonomous Solution is highly competitive as it lowers CAPEX and OPEX significantly ensuring that there are no barriers to adoption by postal companies looking to integrate a more scalable and flexible sorting strategy. In addition, Rovers can rapidly and accurately perform the sorting at a lower cost (per sorted unit) than the current industry standard.
Over the coming months, Unmanned Life and Prime Vision plan to demonstrate further advancements in the development of the system including a robotic arm that can perform autonomous pick-up and place of parcels. Next milestones include deployments of more than 50 units in real-life situation to address the booming e-commerce market.