Author: Matt Butler
In part 1 of this 2-part blog series, “Warehouse of the Future: Adopting Automation within the Supply Chain,” we took a deeper dive into today’s automation systems landscape and retrofitting today’s supply chain with automation. Part-2 of the series will go into more detail around the technologies driving next generation warehouse automation and digitalization and next generation capabilities.
Some of the most exciting technologies driving next generation warehouse automation will be by-products of innovation occurring in other areas. Some technologies to consider include driverless cars, drones, image recognition technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning.
- Driverless cars –Technologies employed by driverless vehicles have long been employed by automation providers in order to promote safety. Sensors causing vehicles to slow or respond are standard in AGVs today. However, advancements in route optimization, like Google Maps, suggest a future state of continuous optimization in warehouse automation. Advances are likely in WMS that will provide a basic level of route optimization to better direct automated and non-automated vehicles, whereas WCS providers take this a step further with algorithms in three dimensions that optimize travel through storage grids that allow multiple points of entry/exit, but only for fully automated environments.
- Drones – A variety of uses for drones have been explored in warehousing – as well as in transportation. The most attractive uses of drones in warehousing today focus on inventory verification (e.g. cycle counting), or asset verification (e.g. yard audits). Stability and control mechanisms are the primary concern with drones at this point, though image recognition technology will alleviate most of that concern in the yard and eventually in the warehouse.
- Image Recognition Technology – Intelligent recognition of photo and
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