Automate Inventory Management with Mobile Robots

ROBi mobility platform tracks inventory via RFID tags for cloud-based asset management.


The ROBi platform is designed for autonomous inventory management. (Image courtesy of Surgere.)

Automating simple, routine processes frees up workers for other tasks and reduces human error. A common reaction to the increase of automation is fear of being replaced—but a more optimistic outlook sees robots enhancing human productivity through collaboration, rather than outright replacement.

Skilled workers are in high demand, so it’s important to make the most of the talent you have. Why waste an experienced employee’s valuable time hunting for tools or checking inventory?

ROBi, which stands for Robotically Optimized and Balanced inventory, aims to solve this problem by automating inventory and routine cycle counts to save time and enhance accuracy in automotive manufacturing and warehouse environments.

The robot has this demo video (which certainly makes it seem that ROBi has more fun doing cycle counts than any human employee would):

Surgere – Meet ROBi from David Zingery on Vimeo.

The wheeled mobility platform, built by Fetch Robotics, can dynamically avoid collisions using optical sensors, slowing down at blind corners using occlusion detection. ROBi travels a programmable route and generates a 3D map of the facility. RFID sensors on the bot capture tag data from multiple angles and directions. This helps account for the height of an item from the floor, stacked products and depth on the shelf. The robot transfers the collected data to a cloud-based asset management system developed by Surgere, allowing workers to conduct digital searchers for the items they need.

This is a great example of how robots have enabled manufacturers to delegate menial tasks away from skilled workers, liberating their time for more difficult tasks. I encourage you to read more about human-robot interaction by clicking this button: