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InventAIRy - Identification with autonomous flying robots

In Germany, companies have a legal obligation to take inventories. However, this stocktaking can be very time-consuming and expensive in many cases. The research project “InventAIRy – Identification with autonomous flying robots” will now make it possible to carry out inventory taking from the air.

Currently, companies take permanent or spot check inventories to keep track of their stocks. The spot check inventory method can already reduce expenditure on inventory taking, yet both processes require counting on a particular date. The technological progress provided by flying robots, i.e. flexibility in all axes, payloads of several kilograms, stable flight and their ability to fly autonomously based on GPS, offers many new alternatives - for inventory taking in indoor and outdoor storage areas.

Objective of the project

The InventAIRy project aims to develop an autonomous flying robot that, thanks to its sensor technology, is in a position to navigate independently through the warehouse. The biggest challenge lies in the development of an autonomous flying robot system with cognitive abilities which can navigate independently and communicate with other objects (M2M) and software systems via intelligent interfaces.
InventAIRy is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the technology programme “Automation for Industry 4.0“. The programme links industrial production with the most modern information and communication technologies. InventAIRy is in the category of cyber physical systems on the basis of the Internet of Things.

Specific Innovations

The flying robot is intended to behave as an intelligent mobile object. It gets its cognitive abilities via sensors. The warehouse set-up is measured and recorded optically by means of motion and camera sensors so the robot can position itself in the area and carry out an integrated dynamic identification of its environment. Satellite navigation systems are also used to accurately determine the robot’s position in outdoor areas. Objects within a warehouse, such as load carriers equipped with identifiers, can also be detected by the service robot. Radio-based solutions can also help to identify stock which is difficult to access. Because of the high flexibility of the system, InventAIRy is suitable for a multitude of warehouse types and operational scenarios. It is not necessary to set up any local infrastructure either. The identification of objects is carried out optically as well as via radio waves to establish a connection between storage positions and stock. The information collected in this way can be communicated to third systems (i.e. warehouse management systems) via intelligent interfaces and services.

Partners in the Project

Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML



 

Aibotix GmbH

 

Panopa Logistik GmbH

 

University of Bonn

 

Spedition Wiedmann GmbH & Co. KG

Intelligent flying robots that think for themselves can help companies with their inventory taking – in both indoor and outdoor storage environments. Inventory taking from the air helps to reduce personnel requirements and costs.

Contact person

Marco Freund

 

Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics

Phone: +49 (0) 231 97 43 266
E-Mail: marco.freund
@iml.fraunhofer.de

Facts & Figures

Start of the Project

01.01.2014

Project Duration
36 months

Project Volume
3.1 Mio Euro

More informations

www.inventairy.de

The green revolution in logistics

 

IT as a driver of innovation

 

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