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Thread: Fetch Robotics, warehouse robots, San Jose, California, USA

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    Fetch Robotics follow pick
    April 28, 2015

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    KPMGVoice: Fetch Robotics | Chapter 2 of The Great Rewrite

    Published on Aug 15, 2016

    “Robots are really good at dirty, dull and dangerous,” said Fetch Robotics CEO Melonee Wise. Her company’s machines are built to work on the floors of warehouses, distribution centers and light manufacturing facilities. Those environments aren’t dangerous, per se, but they can be unhealthy. The work is strenuous, and people can get hurt. There are miles of walking in a typical day gathering products from warehouse shelves. There’s much wasted time. It’s also very dull, so employee turnover is high. “It’s a perfect spot for robots, in terms of helping people do their jobs,” she said.

    Fetch’s Freight robot is a sort of mash-up between R2D2 and a small shopping cart. A small fleet of them may operate in a warehouse or assembly plant as a sort of virtual conveyor belt. One Freight robot can follow an employee who has a list of items to pick. As the picker deposits items in Fetch’s basket, a central server tracks how close the worker is to finishing the order. When the order is just about ready, a new robot is automatically dispatched and shows up to relieve the first robot.

    Said Wise: “Typically with a pushcart, they would push the cart around, get everything they need, and then walk a significant distance back to the packing area. They’d leave that cart there, grab a new cart, walk all the way into the warehouse again and start picking. That can represent about 50 percent of their time, that walk.”

    Fetch’s machines are part of a wider move toward co-bots — robots that use machine vision and sometimes machine learning to work safely and cooperatively with people. The company’s robots, embedded with sensors, learn to navigate by following people. They create maps of the territory they will cover and can recognize people’s legs.

    Fetch offers its robots as a service, leasing them to customers, potentially enabling smaller companies to automate. That helps customers avoid investments in machinery that is destined to become obsolete. “You actually don’t want to be stuck with a robot that’s 10 years old,” she said.

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    "Fetch Robotics Expands Autonomous Mobile Robot Fleet"
    CartConnect and RollerTop AMRs Further Expand On-Demand Automation Capabilities for Warehouse Material Handling; Preview at MODEX 2018

    April 5, 2018

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