Sensor fusion gets robots roving around factories
Adam explained that most manufacturing processes are organized around fixed conveyors and robotic systems. To vary the specifications of the end product, human operators are typically needed to move product pieces from one assembly process to another. ‘Increasing flexibility requires more people to handle the work pieces and push them around, but this human intervention does not add much value,’ he said.
For that reason large manufacturing companies are keen to deploy mobile robots to transport inventory and product pieces around the factory floor. These autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are designed to move and operate by themselves, which means that they must be able to perceive their surroundings and react to them. Visual information is crucial to aid navigation and avoid collisions, as well as to enable the robot to perform simple functions such as selecting and picking up the objects that need to be moved.