Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. 53 unmanned systems inside December 2017/January 2018 learn more about the technology and to gauge customer reaction. The robot then traversed one of the grocer's biggest stores for about six weeks. Schnuck tested the robots in two more stores before the pilot was completed. "In a perfect world, you know what's shipped to the store and you know what's sold," Steck said. "But it's not a perfect world. Things get dropped or fall under the shelves and people steal stuff. And what gets delivered to the store isn't always what you think gets delivered to the store. We needed to solve for out of stock conditions and improve the customer experience. One of the ve- hicles we can use is Tally." The fully autonomous mobile robot is designed to work in conjunction with employees, capturing high-quality imagery of the store shelves they can use to more efficiently perform their jobs, said Brad Bogolea, CEO and co-founder of Simbe Robotics. The solution is designed to close the gap between supply chain and point of sale. Just because a product left the distribution center doesn't mean it ended up on the store shelf, and retailers need to know when it doesn't. Tally uses computer vision to identify key in- sights, including if a product is in the right place. The information is uploaded and processed in the cloud, and the system then makes that informa- tion available to the team on the ground through mobile computing and tablets. Corporate leader- ship also has access to the actionable informa- tion through the company dashboard, giving them insights into what's happening at each store. They can see how well a store is perform- ing, look at shelf health, and determine how of- ten items are misplaced or priced incorrectly. The robot is equipped with a suite of sensors that helps it understand the world around it, including 3-D cameras, IMUs (inertial mea- surement units) and LiDAR, Bogolea said. Dave Steck, vice president of information technology and application development, Schnuck Markets " THIS IS COLLECTING AN IMMENSE AMOUNT OF DATA ABOUT THE STORE AND SHELF CONDITIONS, AND THE ANALYTICS WE'VE DERIVED IS MIRRORING SOME OF THE DATA WE ALREADY HAVE, WHICH BECOMES VERY POWERFUL AS WELL." information is fed through that tool. It can tell them if there's a price that's wrong in aisle two or if there's an item that needs restocked. They receive that information in near real-time." The robots also need to be set up to navigate a variety of store layouts, Rushing said, and know what items to look for. The systems use vision light technology to scan the shelves and capture the necessary data. It's still very early in the process, but initial results show "pretty significant savings in time for our associates," Rushing said. SCHNUCK MARKETS Schnuck Markets, a regional grocery store in St. Louis, tested the Tally robot from Simbe Robotics in three locations earlier this year, and plans to implement the next phase of test- ing in 2018, said Dave Steck, vice president of IT infrastructure and application develop- ment. They started by putting the system in one of the medium sized stores for a few days to Store associates can access the information Tally, from Simbe Robotics, gathers via mobile computing and tablets in near real time.

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