AI News, Flying Inventory Assistants Are a Good Use for Drones

Flying Inventory Assistants Are a Good Use for Drones

It’s starting to seem like “throw a drone at it” is the solution that everyone wants to somehow solve every single problem everywhere, ever.

This is not to say that drones aren’t valuable tools that can solve many problems: the key is to find a problem that needs a drone, asopposed to having a droneand then desperately looking for some problem for it to solve.

(Another, even better option is doing what Kiva Systems, now owned by Amazon, does: its inventorysystem keeps track of both the location and contents of every bin in the warehouse, so when you need to retrieve or restock something, you just send robots do get those bins for you.)This can work very well, but it’s expensive and hard to scale.Fraunhofer’s idea is to forget about the fancy shelves and instead replace what is usually a small army of inventorying humans with a small fleet of autonomous, inventorying drones that use RFID antennas or cameras to identify the location of items.

Fraunhofer’sInventAIRy Project (nice, right?) is developing “autonomous flying robots that are capable of independently navigating and conducting inventory.”The drones won’t be relying on an external navigations systems: it’ll all be onboard, usingultrasound sensors, 3D cameras, and laser scannersto perform continuoussimultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM).

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