Lost inventory might not seem like that big of a deal on the surface, especially when only a few things go missing every now and then. However, it can add up quite quickly, with lost inventory costing businesses billions of dollars each year.
The CEO of Intelligent Flying Machines (IFM), Marc Gyongyosi, set up his company to address this taxing issue. He says that his background working in industrial robotics for BMW highlighted the need for a good system for keeping track of missing inventory. He was surprised by how often things got lost and how much trouble it could be to find them, with people searching high and low using binoculars, forklifts and ladders. It could take a full staff several days to count pallets and then recount them to see if anything has gone missing, and then there is the added complication of humans not being particularly accurate counters.
Drones Double As Counting Robots
He felt there had to be a better way, and he set out to find it. His solution? An army of drones that double as highly accurate counting robots that can navigate through warehouses without the help of humans to keep tabs on everything.
These clever drones deploy in between shifts, taking off on their own, scanning all of the aisles, and then landing and recharging. The entire process takes around 20 minutes in the average warehouse. The information they scan is then checked against the firm’s inventory software to identify mismatches and errors, and any discrepancies are posted in tablets at the end of the warehouse’s aisles to bring the matter to the attention of workers.
While a commercial rollout of the system isn’t expected until next year, some companies have already started a pilot program, including a few car makers.
This blog post was based off an article from Tech Crunch. View the original here.