Warehouse logistics and automation solutions provider Knapp AG will bring to market a line of artificial intelligence (AI) driven robotic picking solutions powered by a partnership with AI provider Covariant, the firms said today.
The deal expands an existing relationship between the two companies that has already produced Knapp's Pick-It-Easy Robot, designed for high performance, single-piece, picking applications.
“Deploying AI Robotics solutions in customer environments is extremely challenging,” Pieter Abbeel, the president and co-founder of Covariant, said in a release. “To be successful, you need to combine AI software with robotics hardware components, then make sure they integrate into a customer’s warehouse, which has dozens of other systems running. It’s a complex process that requires that every piece of technology is seamlessly integrated.”
By accomplishing that integration, technology providers will be able to extend the capabilities of warehouse automation platforms from providing virtual human “legs”—capable of moving goods through the building—to providing human “hands” that can pick up specific items, Abbeel said in a press conference at the Knapp booth today at the Modex trade show in Atlanta.
In the long run, that piece-picking capability will complement other platforms such as Knapp’s OSR Shuttle EVO, which has sold more than 15,000 units since its 2018 launch, with some 8,000 units deployed, the company said today.