Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors Announce Collaboration on Handle Robot
Published on Apr 3, 2020
Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors recently revealed their collaboration to bring cutting-edge robots to the warehouse automation space.
Boston Dynamics is a leader in mobile manipulation robots, and OTTO Motors is a frontrunner for industrial AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) and other autonomous material handling. Both top contenders in their fields, their partnership with the Handle robot will likely have a strong impact on the future of automated warehouses.
At the beginning of March, Boston Dynamics released a statement and video about this Handle robot. You can see the robot picking up boxes and moving pallets using OTTO AMR test-beds in a real-life distribution center in the video below.
One Goal in Mind
Simply put, the joint goal of these two companies is to automate the logistics space.
Boston Dynamics has been a trailblazer in robotics technology, but the introduction of a new executive leader in January has brought a greater focus on revenue generation and growth. This BD chief has emphasized hiring executives and larger technical teams that can implement their robotic innovations into different organizations.
OTTO Motor’s goal is similar; to bring a fleet of robots to distribution centers to create more flexible, autonomous, and efficient warehouses.
Thus, together they have created a concept demo of heterogeneous robots that can be used in autonomous warehouse applications, alongside interactions with other robots like the OTTO 1500. Boston Dynamics has also integrated its pick box detection software into the Handle robot, creating an even more flexible and automated warehouse logistics system.
The concern with the Handle robot is its large size and heavyweight. It also carries hefty loads with bulky movements, so it doesn’t seem entirely safe for human-robot interaction as of yet. However, without humans, these robots would have to work with conveyor belts or other large infrastructure that would likely minimize the flexibility of the warehouse.
That’s where OTTO robots, such as the OTTO 1500, have come in to improve the situation for larger warehouse robots. OTTO’s mobile manipulation robots, like mobile cargo pallets, are more accessible and nimble than the Handle robots—but these sorts of machines can safely and effectively work in tandem. The Handle can carry the boxes, and the OTTO Motor robots move necessary materials for and around the Handles. This minimizes the risk of humans getting injured or slowing down the process, creating a significantly more efficient and safe warehouse system overall.
Both companies are excited at the partnership and the prospect of their robots changing the game of automation, especially as they expand Handle’s capabilities and integrations. Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors are demonstrating how a heterogeneous robot team can create a faster, more efficient warehouse environment in real-world applications.
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