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Drones to take over warehouse inventories

GEODIS and DELTA DRONE to be operational by late 2018

A completely automatic warehouse inventory solution using drones named GEODIS and DELTA DRONE is being scheduled for operations from late 2018, a press release said Wednesday (April 11, 2018). More than 1,000 flight hours in prototype mode across three pilot warehouses were required to arrive at this unique solution. Now, companies can do fully automatic warehouse inventories without interrupting their usual operations and do not require any human intervention. This leads to increased productivity and greater safety for employees as the inventories are performed outside warehouse operating hours.

Autonomous technology

The solution designed by the GEODIS and DELTA DRONE engineering teams is unique. It combines a ground-based robot equipped with a battery that provides sufficient energy for navigating a warehouse. The robot is free from autonomy constraints, and is accompanied by a quadcopter drone equipped with four high-definition cameras. This set, equipped with indoor geolocation technology, operates autonomously when the site is closed. Data can be counted and reported in real time and then processed and stored in the warehouse’s information system.

“Plug and play” solution

During the prototyping phase, several tests were done in real operating conditions to meet the constraints of warehouses e.g. low light or the impact of plastic film covering pallets on image capturing, which required special adaptations to the cameras embedded in the drones. That phase concluded in 2017 with the development of a complete “plug and play” solution that can be easily moved from one warehouse to another without making any changes to the warehouse. The solution can be adapted to all types of Warehouse Management Systems.

Exclusive initial use

As the results were positive, the GEODIS and DELTA DRONE are now working on producing a system that can be manufactured, focusing attention on the solution’s design and the choice of the best components. Hopes are high that industrial production can be scheduled for late 2018. Initially, GEODIS will be the exclusive user of this solution in it’s own warehouses.

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