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Hitachi and Edinburgh University Working on Superfast Robots

Brian Baglow


Industrial Robot Research - Hitachi University of Edinburgh

Technology giant Hitachi is working with researchers from the University of Edinburgh to develop smart robots for warehouses and assembly lines.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh are wirking with Hitachi to create a new generation of robots for use in factory operations and warehouses which are around 40% faster then those currently in use.

The system works via a smart camera, programmed with details about goods to be moved. The camera scans items as they are moved by an automated vehicle towards a robot arm. Data collected by the camera is then used to control the speed of the vehicle carrying the goods, as well as determining how the robot arm will pick up items as they pass. Using adaptive motion planning the system’s vehicle and arm can move close to each other at optimal speeds without colliding. This allows for smooth collection of items without having to stop and start the vehicle.

Artificially Intelligent Components

By using multiple artificially intelligent components, it is hoped that the system will help increase efficiency and automation in factory operations, such as as online retailers, which face increasing need for orders to be automatically selected from vast ranges and volumes of stock.

Hitachi will work towards commercialising the robot system for warehouse operations as well as developing technology to increase the speed and automation of processes.

Machine Learning Techniques

Professor for the School of Informatics, at Edinburgh University, Sethu Vijayakumar, told DIGIT: “We are delighted to see the successful results of more than two years of collaboration with the Hitachi R&D Group, Center for Technology Innovation, culminating in practical and deployable improvements in automated warehousing technology.

“Our robotics lab has been at the forefront of machine learning techniques for adaptive motion planning and control of complex multi-degree of freedom robots and this provides an excellent opportunity to see this expertise used to solve real-world problems.”

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Brian Baglow


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