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Ocado unveils SecondHands collaborative robot prototype

RBR Staff Writer Published 12 January 2018

UK online grocery retailer Ocado is set to begin testing a humanoid robot in its warehouses that will assist technicians when they are in need of help.

The SecondHands robot prototype ARMAR-6 has been developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) by Tamim Asfour and his team at the High Performance Humanoid Technologies Lab (H²T) of the Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics.

The robot will learn via observation and will augment the humans’ capabilities by finishing tasks that need a level of precision or physical strength that are not available to human workers.

It will use artificial intelligence and speech recognition to predict the needs of workers and provide them with necessary tools and assistance.

The robot is claimed to have the ability to watch and interpret human reactions and will decide on the appropriate actions to be taken. It will augment humans’ capabilities by completing tasks that need a level of precision or physical strength that are not available in human workers.

Ocado has reportedly invested millions of pounds in the development of robotics technology to manage its home deliveries for grocery retailers.

Last year, the company signed an agreement with French supermarket Groupe Casino to develop a robotic warehouse.

The robot project builds on the fast-growing segment of industrial robotics market. As per the International Federation of Robotics, industrial robotic installations are forecast to grow by 15% this year.

The company has invested in robot technology to reduce its dependency on human workers. Ocado plans to have robots in highly automated fulfilment centres to sort through more than 250,000 orders per week.

Image: Ocado to use SecondHands robot at its fulfillment centre. Photo: Courtesy of Ocado Innovation Limited.