Welty got firsthand experience of such a situation while operating a logistics company that built its success during the e-commerce boom. They were one of the first companies to integrate autonomous robots from Kiva Systems into the core of t heir w arehouse m anagement m odel to increase efficiency—until Amazon acquired Kiva, cutting of their robot supply and putting their business model in jeopardy. Welty then went on a globetrotting trek to find alternative robots for the warehouse environment, but had no luck. “We found that the majority of robot companies lacked a real understanding of the challenges and complexities that exist within a warehouse environment,” says Welty.
Rather than rely on existing technologies, Bruce decided to draw upon his direct experience with warehouses, fulfillment and robotics to engineer an entirely new approach to e-commerce robotics, and launched Locus Robotics. “The Locus solution offers innovative autonomous robots, called LocusBots, that work collaboratively and side-by-side with warehouse workers to fulfill eCommerce orders. Our technology empowers human employees to pick commodities much faster and more accurately, leading to signficant increases in throughput and productivity compared to traditional picking systems. And there is no need to make any changes to existing warehouse infrastructure to use our technology.”
Locus offers a complete e-commerce fulfillment solution, including autonomous robots, easily scalable software, Wi-Fi, mobile apps, and real-time performance reporting.
Each robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi connected console that works like a Network Operation Center (NOC), allowing the company to monitor clients’ warehouse environments and system efficiencies. iPads are the standard user interface, giving clear, real-time and accurate data on all completed activities. Locus Robotics also integrates non-disruptive machine learning into their system, which allows LocusBots to learn the most efficient routes and help workers become more productive over time. The system adapts easily to changes to the environment, and provides comprehensive optimization capabilities. “We also have an app where users create their own optimization, which they can publish and share,” says Welty.
Unlike other warehouse robotics systems, Locus’ implementation process is simple, with virtually zero disruption. “We bring our robots into the client’s facility and train their workforce within their existing infrastructure and systems,” says Welty.
“Our robotic invention is just the beginning of a really big wave of worker-friendly, collaborative robots,” says Welty. “Beyond warehouse, the agility built into our robots allows them to be used in various other environments such as manufacturing, hospitals, and retail stores for moving commodities around.”