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Driven by cost, efficiency, and safety benefits, businesses are increasingly adopting warehouse automation, with drones playing a central role in this process.
Thanks to their ability to fly and hover autonomously, avoid obstacles, operate in fleets, and be managed remotely, drones can be used in a range of applications within warehouse logistics.
Used in inventory management, intro-logistics, and inspection and surveillance, the use of drones in logistics offers a whole host of benefits, including increased safety and accessibility, as well as affordability and ROI. They can reach narrow storage areas, locate difficult-to-find items, and send real time data to other warehouse management systems.
However, as with any technology, there are also obstacles to overcome when implementing drone automation in warehouse logistics.
What are the obstacles in warehouse automation with drones?
Although drones are an essential part of warehouse automation, there are also a number of obstacles to overcome.
When implementing warehouse automation with drones, there are physical obstacles, such as human activity in the warehouse, as well as other moving obstacles such as forklift trucks. These obstacles can limit the available hovering areas for the drones and increase the complexity of the operation.
Warehouses differ significantly in terms of size and layout. In addition to potential physical obstacles, limited space such as narrow aisles between storage areas, can also pose a challenge for drone automation.
Narrow aisles create an increased risk of collision and a smaller field of view, which can impact the drone’s ability to fly safely, reliably, and autonomously. Other environmental factors such as low ceilings, hanging lights, and intrusive shelves can also be problematic.
Drones navigate using GPS signals. But GPS is not available in the majority of warehouse environments, which can potentially impact the ability to use drone automation. This requires novel indoor navigation capabilities.
Current logistics and warehouse management processes have likely been in place for many years and were not developed with the use of drone automation in mind. Integrating drone automation into existing logistics processes can be time-consuming.
How we work to overcome these obstacles
We are now able to overcome these barriers to automation in the warehouse with fully autonomous, drone-based inventory counting solutions which help overcome the challenges faced by warehouse operators, enabling a cost-effective transition to autonomous aerial warehouse inventory scans.
Adopting a three-phase approach, we’ll work closely alongside your project management team to plan, develop, and support the integration of drone technology into your warehouse logistics.
This process starts with a quick yet comprehensive feasibility analysis, followed by an on-site pilot deployment, and finally full-scale production roll-out across multiple warehouse facilities. The end goal is always to deploy a turnkey solution that is tuned to your environment and management systems, which can then be easily scaled across your estate.
Working together with your team, we will assess the benefits, potential risks, impact on existing business processes, sustainability, and scalability, as well as costs involved in the automation project.
Through this analysis phase, we will establish how drone automation would work effectively and safely in your specific environment, providing the data to back it up.
Upon confirmation of technical and economic feasibility, we progress to a cost-effective pilot deployment.
During the pilot stage, we implement a small-scale version of the final solution, in order to prove the operation within the target warehouse. This allows you to achieve a first-hand assessment of factors such as data security and privacy, reliability, and ease of integration into the warehouse’s existing systems and processes.
This process allows us to review, adapt, and finely tune the system until both our team and yours are 100% happy with the outcomes.
Once the pilot has been signed off, full-scale production can then begin for roll-out across your estate.
Find out more
To find out more about how our new drone solution can support the implementation of drone automation in your warehouse logistics, please get in touch:
Email us at [email protected]
Call us on 0203 488 4071