Boston Dynamics has unveiled its new box-moving robot Stretch, which has been designed to support the growing demand for flexible automation solutions in the logistics industry.
According to the company, Stretch is its official entrance into warehouse automation. It described the sector as a fast-growing market fuelled by increased demand in e-commerce.
The multi-purpose mobile robot is designed to tackle a number of tasks where rapid box moving is required, first starting with truck unloading and later expanding into order building.
The robot’s small, omni-directional mobile base allows Stretch to navigate loading docks, manoeuvre in tight spaces and adapt to changing facility layouts. The company said this eliminates the need for costly fixed automation infrastructure.
Furthermore, Stretch is equipped with a custom-designed lightweight arm and a smart-gripper with advanced sensing and controls, that can handle a large variety of boxed and shrink-wrapped cases.
The robot also includes Boston Dynamics’ computer vision technology that enables it to identify boxes easily and without extensive training for each customer. Its vision system works in tandem with pick and place activity, enabling high pick rates.
Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics, said: “Warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods.
“Mobile robots enable the flexible movement of materials and improve working conditions for employees. Stretch combines Boston Dynamics’ advancements in mobility, perception and manipulation to tackle the most challenging, injury-prone case-handling tasks, and we’re excited to see it put to work.”
Boston Dynamics is currently seeking customers to pilot test Stretch with truck unloading tasks, ahead of its commercial deployment in 2022.