Look Ahead: AI robot finds its way

Author Michael C. Anderson
March 17, 2017 - 04:15pm

Product life cycles—the amount of time that elapses for a product to progress from introduction to maturity to obsolescence—grows shorter and shorter. That requires rearranging some production facilities much more often. 

For those who use automated carriers to move material around their facilities, changing a layout includes the added work of making sure those carriers can still find their way around without running into obstacles or people. How much work? That depends on the carrier. 

Omron Adept Technologies Inc.’s LD-series mobile robot can gather information about its surroundings and automatically generate a map with just one run through any given environment.

The LD-series mobile robot utilizes a built-in scanner to detect its environment. Image courtesy of Omron.

Omron developed the LD carrier robot and equipped it with proprietary artificial-intelligence technology that allows it to transport materials to a target location while calculating the optimal route and avoiding humans and obstacles. While earlier automatically moving, autonomous robots generally functioned by reading markers, such as lines on the floor, the LD robot utilizes a built-in laser scanner to detect its environment and the company’s Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology to automatically map space that’s available for movement. The robot compares the map and the laser scanner input to determine its position, and plots a route for transporting up to 130kg (287 lbs.) of cargo. 

The robot adheres to international CE, ANSI and JIS safety standards. Up to 100 LD mobile robots can be managed with a single controller. 

There are two variations of the LD: a customizable type and an all-in-one transporter type with an attached cart. The former allows the user to optimize the robot for its intended environment by attaching a customized cabinet or

The robots are suitable for a range of indoor environments, including manufacturing and logistics facilities found in the automotive, electronics, food and pharmaceuticals industries. 

For more information about Omron Adept Technologies Inc., San Ramon, Calif., visit www.adept.com or call (925) 245-3400.


Former Senior Editor

Michael Anderson, former senior editor at Cutting Tool Engineering magazine, holds a master's degree in written communication from Eastern Michigan University. He has been professionally writing about manufacturing technology since 1998, including more than 10 years at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.