Geodis successfully pilots drone warehouse inventory solution


After almost two years of development, Geodis will make a completely automatic warehouse inventory solution using drones fully operational at the end of 2018.

In partnership with Delta Drone, more than 1,000 flight hours in prototype mode across three pilot warehouses were required to arrive at the solution, which allows companies to perform completely automatic warehouse inventories without interrupting their usual operations or requiring any human intervention.

The main advantages are the productivity gains generated by performing the inventories outside warehouse operating hours, a greater reliability of the inventory, and greater safety at work for employees, who no longer have to carry out this tedious and sometimes risky task.

In the prototyping phase, multiple tests were carried out in real operating conditions in order to meet the specific constraints of warehouses, such as low light or the impact that the plastic film covering pallets has on image capturing, which required special adaptations to the cameras embedded in the drones.

This phase ended in 2017 with the development of a complete “plug and play” solution that can be easily moved from one warehouse to another without requiring that any prior changes be made to the warehouse. This solution also adapts to all types of WMS.

Geodis will be the exclusive user of this solution in its own warehouses.

The solution combines a ground-based robot equipped with a battery that provides the energy needed to navigate a warehouse and allows freedom from autonomy constraints, and a quadcopter drone equipped with four high-definition cameras. This set, equipped with indoor geolocation technology, operates autonomously during the hours the site is closed. From an IT point of view, the solution enables the counting and reporting of data in real time, the processing of data, and its restitution in the warehouse’s information system.

The tests conducted during the initial development phase show that the solution enables inventory to be managed reliably with rates close to 100%.

Source: Geodis