Washington, June 29 : Robots may soon revolutionise the warehouse business across the world, if experts at a US-based company have their way.
Kiva Systems, the company at Woburn in Massachusetts, has the idea of using a group of robots to bring inventory items to the warehouse workers rather than vice versa, and thereby fulfil orders about three times faster.
The company says that this can be done by using a central computer that will keep track of all robots and racks on the floor.
The task of efficiently orchestrating the robots' movement will be performed by resource-allocation algorithms, the company adds.
Since 2004, Kiva has amassed 18 million dollars in funding from Bain Capital and other investors. It has also signed up three heavyweight customers.
The office supply giant Staples uses more than 500 Kiva robots at its fulfilment centre in Chambersburg, and has equipped an entire warehouse in Denver with the robotic system.
Drugstore chain Walgreens is using hundreds of Kiva robots at a distribution centre in Mt. Vernon to prepare cases with inventory to restock stores.
Online shoe store Zappos is also adding Kiva robots to part of its massive fulfilment centre in Shepherdsville that houses 4.2 million shoes, handbags, and clothing items.
Early this year, IEEE Spectrum visited to find out how the company created its remarkable robots, and how its "warehouse of the future" works.