The supply chain is being tested in ways like never before. Manufacturers and freight companies have struggled with everything from restrictions imposed by the pandemic to a shrinking labor force to being overwhelmed with unprecedented demand for home delivery. Investing more into traditional methods isn’t going to be enough. But new technologies incorporating drones and embedded vision might be just what your supply chain needs.
Drones and Embedded Vision Advance Supply Chain Management
You’ve probably seen drones before. Outside of the military versions, at one time drones were only remote control toys for children or an alternative to aircraft-based photography. But drones have become more robust and can now transport heavier materials farther than ever. Embedded vision gives drones the ability to “see” their surroundings and make intelligent decisions regarding their flight path or navigating hazards along the way.
Stories involving drones making parcel deliveries to Amazon and FedEx customers might be what’s making the news these days. But drones are also filling needs behind the scenes in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Drones equipped with embedded vision are zipping around warehouses and distribution centers performing cycle counts and other inventory tasks.
In addition to faster inventory counting on those racks way up high, keeping humans closer to the ground puts human workers at less risk and makes the workplace safer. With drones doing the counting, humans can focus on higher-value and often higher-paying jobs. And because drones are performing these tasks, that means less downtime for inventory counting and inventory checks.
Embedded vision is key to the effectiveness of drones in the warehouse. Camera and proximity sensor data are interpreted by complex algorithms to help drones detect people and other objects along their route. They can identify inventory that has been improperly placed and alert warehouse personnel.
Supply Chains Overcome Barriers to Drone Deployment
Drones will soon become more common outside of the warehouse as well. The Federal Aviation Administration has begun to loosen restrictions for drones and the airspace they will need to start making deliveries. In the past, drones could only make deliveries within a line of sight. But since embedded vision lets them make their own intelligent decisions, approval has been given to a select group of eight companies to pilot last-mile delivery programs.
The companies creating the technology behind the drones have also stepped up to the task. Integrators have helped design warehouses, often called beehives, for the drones to operate out of. Cloud-based warehouse solutions are being connected with drones as Industry 4.0 continues its rollout. Turnkey drone solutions and simpler interfaces are making it easier for SMBs to deploy drones in smaller facilities.
Would you like to add vision and or embedded vision to your current drone or robotic design? Then contact the vision experts at Phase 1 Technology Corp. and request information about the drone or robotic cameras, sensors, or complete embedded vision solutions.