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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AIR INNOVATIONS 58 unmanned systems inside   December 2017/January 2018 age is a big problem and inventory accuracy has significant ramifications for product veloc- ity. If I don't know where something is, I can't pick it and ship it. I have to hunt around and that's wasted time. And often companies have more inventory than they need. If they knew exactly where everything was in their supply chain it would save hundreds of millions, if not billons, of dollars in inventory carrying costs." While ground robots work great inside stores, Yearling said drones are much more effective in warehouses. Ceilings in warehouses can reach more than 30 feet high—well beyond a ground robot's line of site. In some cases, employees don't bother to check inventory that's stored where it can't be easily reached, leading to inaccurate in- ventory records. Some might use binoculars to try to track items while others employ expensive equipment that requires strapping someone into a lift so they can get to the products—which can be dangerous in a busy warehouse. A drone, on the other hand, can quickly fly by, complete the scan and move on to the next item. Incorporating this technology makes the most sense for large warehouses that are 100,000 square feet or more. PINC is work- ing with big-name companies from a variety of verticals, not just retail, with warehouses that fit that description, but Yearling can't go into details just yet. The Hardis Group, a France-based company that manufactures the Eyesee inventory drone, is also starting to deploy its system in large ware- houses. They're still in the beta testing phase but have developed a fully automatic indoor UAS designed to simplify, secure and accelerate in- ventory stock checks. Hardis plans to launch a commercial and industrial version of the UAS in 2018, Business Developer Adeline Liapis said. The drone features an anti-collision system and a 360-degree detector for approaching ob- jects, so it can safely f ly through warehouses, Liapis said. It has a self-contained lighting sys- tem that allows it to operate in the dark, and the ability to land automatically if one of the sensors fail. For f light control, the firm's Eyesee drone is equipped with a Wi-Fi router that provides commands to execute the f light plan. It also features an on-board camera and indoor geolo- cation technology that allows it to move using a predetermined flight plan and to capture data from the pallets. If a pallet has several labels, it can identify the one needed for inventory con- trol. The drone then associates the captured im- age with its position and automatically trans- lates its 3-D position into a storage location. It also can detect when an item is missing. The real-time video feedback and HD pho- to transmission, made possible through an Android app that runs on a tablet, allows the operator to follow the mission in real time, said Stéphane Cadenet, who developed the drone. All the information it collects is sent to the warehouse management system (WMS). The system is compatible with every WMS and enterprise resources planning (ERP) solution. Eyesee is easy to implement into a warehouse, OTHER USES FOR ROBOTS IN RETAIL Many retailers are using robots to help with loss prevention and for security inside their stores, Tom Litchford of The National Retail Federation said. "They can detect analomies in the store, such as a broken wine bottle on the floor. They recognize the spillage and can call for service," he said. "They also can detect analomies around the security side, preventing shrinkage when they see a customer who is wanting to potentially steal something." Photo courtesy of PINC Solutions. PINC's drone also helps manage inventory in large outdoor locations.

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