Warehouse inventory using drones: nearly there

Author: Charles Pauka

After almost two years of development, the completely automatic warehouse inventory system using drones, by GEODIS and Delta Drone, will be operational at the end of 2018.

More than 1,000 flight hours in prototype mode across three pilot warehouses were required to arrive at this product, which allows companies to perform completely automatic warehouse inventories without interrupting their usual operations or requiring any human intervention. The main advantages are the productivity gains generated by performing the inventories outside warehouse operating hours, greater safety at work for the site’s employees, who no longer have to carry out this tedious and sometimes risky task, and a greater reliability of the inventory.

In the prototyping phase, multiple tests were carried out in real operating conditions in order to meet the specific constraints of warehouses, such as low light or the impact that the plastic film covering pallets has on image capturing, which required special adaptations to the cameras embedded in the drones.

This phase ended in 2017 with the development of a complete ‘plug and play’ system that can be easily moved from one warehouse to another without requiring that any prior changes be made to the warehouse. It also adapts to all types of warehouse management systems (WMS).

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