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Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
Gather is an artificial intelligence-based warehouse stocking solution founded by Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University graduates. I think sf writers led the way, at least conceptually, for this idea.
Gather supplies software for the autonomous operation of drones that can connect with existing warehouse management systems and IoT devices such as motion sensors. Computer vision is then used to scan and count inventory.
The solution is about 60% cheaper than traditional methods that rely on people alone, Gather said. Gather software is currently used in an undisclosed number of warehouses, but an air cargo company was able to reduce inventory time from 8 hours to 15 minutes, and take inventory 10x more quickly than two employees with a forklift in another warehouse.
I'm pretty sure engineer and science fiction writer James P. Hogan had this problem fixed (at least imaginatively) in his 1979 novel The Two Faces of Tomorrow; he used them as repair drones:
A sudden rushing sound, like that of high-velocity ducted air, mixed with a fainter electric whine, came from halfway up the wall to their right... It was an array of open compartments that looked like pigeon holes for mail, except that each was a foot or more square...
As they watched speechless, it slid smoothly out of its cell like a metal wasp emerging from its nest, and hung in midair a foot or so in front of the pigeonholes...
The wasp homed unerringly on the face of the honeycomb. It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins located at intervals across the face...
"They're called drones," Hayes told them. "I'm sure I don't have to spell out the idea."
Gather is not the only company to address this problem with a drone-based solution; see RFly Drones Rule the Warehouse. You might want to take a look at this early article on the robotic warehouse solution that was eventually purchased by Amazon - Kiva Robot Shelves Come To You.
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