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Mobile robots use AI to deliver materials, avoiding obstacles

11 October, 2016

Omron Adept Technologies has developed a free-roaming mobile robot with on-board artificial intelligence (AI) that allows it to transport materials weighing up to 130kg to a target location, calculating the optimal route and avoiding humans and obstacles en route. The Mobile Robot LD Platform is aimed at industrial applications such as transporting car parts, electronics, foods and pharmaceuticals. It is also suitable for use in warehouses and research facilities.

A laser scanner monitors the robot’s environment, and maps the space available for movement. It compares the map with the laser scanner input to determine its position, and plots a route to transport its cargo while steering clear of obstacles and humans. Optional cameras can be added to help the robot to operate in warehouses and other environments where objects move around frequently.

Up to 100 of the mobile robots can be managed by one controller. They can be introduced into existing manufacturing plants to enable flexible and speedy changes to production lines to meet demand. The robots adhere to CE, ANSI and JIS safety standards.

There will be two versions of the mobile robot when it is released in January 2017. One will be a version that OEM users will be able to customise for their applications by attaching custom cabinets or conveyors. The other will be an all-in-one transporter with an attached cart.

Omron suggests that the Mobile Robot LD will help to solve issues such as productivity and product quality by liberating human workers from the monotonous and tiring task of carrying items, giving them the freedom to engage in more creative work.

Omron's mobile robots are designed to meet the needs of future factories with flexible production lines

Omron envisages a future where machines interact harmoniously with humans and understand their movements and thoughts. It says that the Mobile Robot LD is a key to achieving the mass customisation needed to produce high-quality products that meet the needs and preferences of consumers. It will play an important role in flexible manufacturing operations where production lines adjust automatically as the manufactured products change.

Omron Adept Technologies was formed after Omron bought the largest US robot manufacturer, Adept, for around $200m in 2015.




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