Business & Investment

Boston Dynamics Trials Box Lifting Robot to Unload Trucks

Robot vendor Boston Dynamics may be best known for its two-legged “Atlas” model or four-legged “Spot” unit viral video, but the company is now announcing a wheeled design. Did Aimed to cruise the warehouse floor and remove the box from the truck trailer..

While Atlas and Spot are known for adjusting dance moves, gymnastics flips, hill climbs, and more, the company’s new “stretch” product, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, focuses on dexterity. Built with a single arm mounted on a square rolling base, Stretch is designed to perform fast box-moving tasks that begin with truck unloading and later extend to order building.

Boston Dynamics plans to launch a unit for commercial deployment in 2022 and is currently offering stretch. Pilot test deployment with interested warehouse operators..

This rollout is the first new product from Boston Dynamics. Acquired by Korean car maker Hyundai Group in 2020.. At the time, Hyundai said the movement was aimed at boosting the development of robots for self-driving cars, urban aerial movements (UAM), and smart factories.

Therefore, according to Boston Dynamics, Stretch marks the company’s formal entry into warehouse automation, a fast-growing market driven by rising demand for e-commerce.

The company had previously experimented with warehouse applications using Atlas’ designs and “Handle.” Two-wheeled, two-armed ostrich-shaped design.. Both were able to move boxes and cases in a warehouse application, but Boston Dynamics wanted to create a commercial version with feedback on these earlier models.

“About two years ago, we realized we needed to start from scratch and build a dedicated robot for this,” said Brian Nachtigall, Boston Dynamics Logistics Project Manager.

As a result, Stretch lifts boxes weighing up to 50 pounds, provides 7 feet of reach, uses a camera to avoid obstacles and identify boxes, and is a vacuum-powered “smart gripper” that can sense objects to process. It was a design that could be expanded. ..

Although the machine is designed to increase the efficiency of material handling, Boston Dynamics states that it will provide new tools rather than replacing warehouse workers. The company envisions an application that allows employees of current DC jobs to handle inbound inventory or warehouse receipts to move to the role of “robot wrangler” and manage stretch robots as needed.

“The pandemic has put a flashlight on issues that people in the warehousing industry are already very familiar with, such as the lack of available workforce,” said Nazigal. “A few years from now, we’ll talk about a robot that unloads trucks and say,’Can you believe this was done manually before?'”

Boston Dynamics Trials Box Lifting Robot to Unload Trucks Boston Dynamics Trials Box Lifting Robot to Unload Trucks

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