Amazon patents robot conveyor belts that can roll around its warehouses
- Amazon filed a patent for a contraption that’s equipped with a conveyor belt, as well as a sorting device, in the hopes that it can improve efficiency in factories
- It has docking heads on each side of the device and is equipped with a computer
- It arks the latest filing showing Amazon’s efforts to modernize its warehouses
Amazon could soon deploy a fleet of roving robot conveyor belts in its warehouses.
The tech giant recently filed a patent for a concept device that’s equipped with a conveyor belt capable of sorting and transferring items.
It could help Amazon tackle many problems related to delays and inefficiency in traditional warehouses.
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Amazon filed a patent for a concept device that’s equipped with a conveyor belt capable of sorting and transferring items. The hope is that it could increase efficiency in factories
The contraption includes two separate robotic devices that each require separate controllers that can communicate back and forth.
A controller for the first device communicates with a controller for the second device, sending signals as to where the robotic instrument should go next.
It has docking heads on each side of the device, as well as a computer system that includes memory and a processor that can perform operations.
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These operations might include things like ‘communicating signals to at least one of the first robotic device or the second robotic device,’ according to the document.
Amazon refers to the contraption as an ‘inventory management system’ in the patent filing.
Inventory systems in mail-order warehouses, supply chain distribution centers, airport luggage systems and other facilities often encounter challenges, the patent states.
The contraption has two separate robotic devices that each require separate controllers that can communicate back and forth, sending signals for where the instrument should go next
By making the robots mobile, Amazon says it can address some issues with older conveyor belt systems, like inflexibility in arrangement or configuration in warehouses and other spaces
‘As inventory systems grow, the challenges of completing a number of packing, storing, and other inventory-related tasks becomes increasingly difficult,’ the document continued.
‘In inventory systems tasked with responding to large numbers of diverse inventory requests, inefficient utilization of system resources, including space, equipment, and manpower, can result in lower throughput, longer response times, an increasing backlog of unfinished tasks, and overall lower system performance.’
Major equipment overhauls can be costly, making it hard to address challenges.
Instead, Amazon proposes equipping ‘mobile robotic devices…with conveyor components’ that can transport things between points in a warehouse.
The contraptions are ‘independent, self-powered devices configured to move throughout the workspace,’ the patent noted.
By making them mobile, Amazon says it can address some of the issues with older conveyor belt systems, like inflexibility in arrangement or configuration in warehouses and other spaces.
It’s just the latest patent filed by Amazon that describes revolutionary new concepts that could be applied to its warehouses.
A patent filed last month describes a ‘Collaborative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle For an Inventory System.’
A patent filed last month by Amazon describes a ‘Collaborative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle For an Inventory System’ (pictured). It would be used in its warehouses for hard-to-reach items
The unmanned vehicle includes a ‘buoyant airbag’, a ‘retention feature’, ‘drive unit’ and ‘an onboard control module.’
The retention feature is essentially a large claw, and the potential drone would have propellers for lift and directional movement.
The patent application says the unusual drone would be used in its warehouses for hard-to-reach places.
‘Inventory systems are now occasionally split between ground floors and mezzanine levels within a large structure,’ it reads.
‘Moving inventory items into or out of densely packed storage areas can be inefficient using existing ground-based units.’
HOW COULD DRONES BE USED TO SPEED UP DELIVERIES?
Impatient shoppers will be pleased to hear that Amazon’s drones could significantly speed up the speed at which deliveries can be made.
The plan is for Amazon’s PrimeAir service to eventually deliver small packages weighing up to 5lbs (2.27kg) in 30 minutes or less.
Amazon got British approval for three new types of tests, including flying drones that are no longer within sight of their operators in rural and suburban areas.
The other two are having one person operate several highly automated drones and testing devices to make the drones able to identify and avoid obstacles.
During the test the drones will be only allowed to fly an altitude of 400ft (122m) and kept away from operating near airport flight paths.
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