United Kingdom 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 robot, which uses the latest speech recognition technology, was developed with funding from the European Union at the Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), in southern Germany. It would augment human capabilities by completing tasks that require a level of precision or physical strength not available to them.
It will use artificial intelligence and speech recognition to predict the needs of workers and provide them with necessary tools and assistance.
The robot prototype, in which was invested 72 person-years of research, has been delivered to Ocado Technology robotic research lab where experiments to evaluate the integrated research from all project partners are now taking place.
Last year, the company signed an agreement with French supermarket Groupe Casino to develop a robotic warehouse.
As robots evolve from industrial machines performing repetitive tasks in isolated areas of large-scale factories to highly complex systems powered by deep neural networks, developing collaborative robots that can safely and intelligently interact with their human counterparts in a real-world factory environment represents a fast-growing segment of the industrial robots market. As per the International Federation of Robotics, industrial robotic installations are forecast to grow by 15% this year.
Ocado delivers more than 260,000 customer orders per week from its warehouses, which use robot picking solutions based on 3D vision.