Collaboration focuses on next-generation machine learning

20th December 2018
Alex Lynn

It has been announced by Honeywell that they are entering a strategic collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University to advance robotics technology for distribution centres. The initiative brings together Honeywell Intelligrated, a division of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions, and Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The two organisations are advancing the capability of artificial intelligence and robotics technologies to solve challenges facing distribution centres. Today’s distribution centre systems are becoming more integrated and complex as result of the rapid growth in e-commerce and the need to improve productivity and performance to fulfil orders.

Pieter Krynauw, President of Honeywell Intelligrated, stated: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to staff supply chain operations fast enough to satisfy the growth in e-commerce. Developing advanced machine learning capabilities and applying it to critical distribution centre applications is a key enabler for our customers. Our industry expertise coupled with the research capability of Carnegie Mellon accelerates our ability to bring advanced technology to market at scale and deliver much-needed capacity and productivity gains for distribution centres through digital transformation.”

The collaboration is focused on developing a next-generation architecture to control and operate multiple robotic applications. The platform uses machine learning to enhance the critical decision-making capability that allows robotics to function in dynamic, unstructured environments. 

Honeywell’s approach enables continuous learning and performance improvements to adapt to changing conditions in the enterprise over time. This allows for the automation of more complex and unstructured warehousing tasks, such as unloading shipping containers and picking packets or individual e-commerce orders.

Herman Herman, Director of the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, added: “With this initiative, we’re combining leading edge robotic research from Carnegie Mellon with Honeywell Intelligrated’s logistics and industrial robotics expertise. In a period of such extreme growth for robotics, it is vital to have the technical platform along with the domain expertise and real-world data to push technology forward to commercial maturity.”

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