Amidst the attempts by a Singapore-based firm Infinium Robotics to carve a niche in the drone market by developing a flying warehouse robot, there are fears that very soon a flying drone could take inventory in a warehouse–and possibly someone’s job.
The company later attempted to apply drone technology use in food service, although this proved to be challenging after the company had initially started with the coordination of drones for aerial displays. And currently, in the warehouse and logistics sector, Infinium focuses on providing robotics solutions.
“We are focused on indoor applications (for) very practical purposes because for outdoor applications, we have to deal with regulations. We have to deal with issues like privacy as well (but) if you fly drones indoors, you do away with all these issues,” Junyang Woon, founder and CEO of Infinium Robotics, said.
“We are looking into fully replacing the manpower needed to do stocktaking,” Woon says, “Let’s say warehouse workers leave work, you press a button and the drone will do the stocktaking. When the workers come back in the morning, all the stock would be taken before they actually start work.”
After seeing how it was used in the military domain and wanted to explore how these solutions could be used in the commercial domain, the former Republic of Singapore Navy officer became fascinated by drone technology.
There is a fair share of challenges in the operations of drones although indoor drone applications allow users to bypass regulations from authorities.
The company had to commit additional investments to develop positioning technology to improve indoor navigation as Infinium’s warehouse drones operate indoors — where GPS signals are weaker and hence controlling them remotely is a challenge.
While Woon says they intend to roll out the solution by mid-2017, at present, the company’s drones are currently being tested in warehouses around Singapore.
Costs related to inventory that would have otherwise been written off each year would be helped saved by the technology. “You’re talking about hundreds of millions or trillions of cost savings for this entire industry,” Woon says. A “very natural step” that makes businesses more efficient is the adoption of the use of drones for daily business affairs, Woon added.
As of now the company is based and is operational only in its home market of Singapore. Since Singapore has a very good reputation of being a very good logistics and distribution hub for MNCs doing businessin the entrie region, Infinium will be using the city-state as a springboard to take their business and technology to the rest of the world. Woon says.
“We’re trying to beat everyone,” Woon says of his competitors, “And so far, we have a drone that is fully autonomous indoors in warehouse(s).”
(Adapted from CNBC)