Germany-based logistics specialist DB Schenker is using robots to automate picking and sorting tasks at its Leipzig, Germany, warehouse following a successful trial. The hi-tech robots, manufactured by Croatia-based Gideon Brothers and capable of carrying an 800-kilogram load, allow productivity gains without the need to modify existing facilities, the companies said.
Gideon Brothers’ autonomous mobile robots rely on visual perception rather than light detection and ranging (lidar) for navigation and safety. The company claims that its combination of deep learning with stereoscopic cameras allows the robots to understand their environment and move around without first requiring pre-set routes to be mapped, which is more efficient and less costly.
The artificial intelligence system built into the robots enables them to recognize patterns and behaviors on the floor so they can navigate around people, stationary equipment and moving objects.
“Our machines perceive the world just like we do – by processing visual inputs and understanding what surrounds them and how it relates to their tasks,” Matija Kopić, CEO and co-founder of Gideon Brothers, said in an October 28 statement.
In July, Zagreb-based Atlantic Grupa, a food producer and regional distributor of consumer goods, introduced Gideon robots in its new logistics and distribution center, and integrated them with its warehouse management system (WMS), bringing a new level of automation to Atlantic’s distribution process.
Gideon Brothers recently raised €2.65 million ($2.96 million) in second-stage seed funding to bankroll its expanding business. With the latest round, total investment in the company stands at €4.83 million.
“Logistics and intra-logistics have so far seen very little automation as the available technology didn’t offer the level of flexibility most operations need,” Nicole Junkermann, founder of NJF Capital, said in a statement.
NJF is a new Gideon investor.
“This is changing. Gideon Brothers is one of the few players globally developing – and validating – next-generation autonomy,” she said.
According to research from Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global warehouse robotics market is expected to reach a value of $9.6 billion by 2027, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 12.0%.