SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Stackify Blog, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

News Feed Item

Multiple AI Coordination Control that Realizes Efficient Warehouse Picking by Integrating Control of Robotic Arms with AGV



Reduced operation time by 38% through coordinated continuous operation

Figure 1. Comparison of technology to remove products from an AGV using a picking robot.

Figure 2. Image of real time processing with multiple AI coordination control technology.

TOKYO, May 28, 2018 - (JCN Newswire) - Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501) today announced the development of multiple AI coordination control technology that increases the efficiency of the picking process by integrating the control of the picking robot(1) and automated guided vehicle (AGV)(2) to smoothly pick-up specific products from goods carried by the AGV. The new technology coordinates control by integrated management of the AIs that control the picking robot and the AGV, based on decisions made by the AI that determines the optimal picking method for specified products from camera(3) images. The AGV and robot arm can move closer to each other at optimal speeds to avoid collision based on the state of the goods stacked on the AGV, enabling smooth picking by the robot arm without stopping the AGV (Figure 1). The results of a comparative experiment using conventional technology where the AGV is stopped each time for picking, confirmed that the time required for picking could be reduced by 38% with the new technology. Hitachi will work towards the commercialization of a robot system for warehouse operations as well as contribute to increased efficiency in logistics through development of technology to increase the speed and automation of processes. The design of the trajectory planning and fine adjustment function for the robotic arm, necessary for this technology, was developed in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, U.K.

http://www.acnnewswire.com/topimg/Low_HitachiAI518Fig1.jpg
Figure 1. Comparison of technology to remove products from an AGV using a picking robot.

In recent years, greater efficiency and automation in warehouse operations are in demand as they face a dramatic increase in picking operations that require specific orders to be selected from a vast range and large number of stock. AGV that carry products by case or by shelf have already been commercialized to support picking operations, and currently development of systems which combine the operation of AGV and picking robots that remove products from cases, is underway. The challenge however is that it is difficult to instantaneously determine the best way to pick up a specific product and control the picking robot while taking into consideration the speed of the AGV as goods in the cart become disarrayed during picking and transport. Thus, it was necessary to stop the AGV before starting picking operations resulting in a time loss while the AGV is stopped which added to the difficulty of establishing more efficient systems. To address this challenge, Hitachi developed the multiple AI coordination control technology to optimize the efficiency of the picking process by coordinating the picking robot and the AGV.

Features of the technology are as follows:

(1) AI determining the optimal picking method from camera images

AI was developed that determines from camera images, the position of a product which can be picked by a picking robot from how goods are stacked in a case and the speed of the AGV. By inputting 3D data of product to be picked before the operation, the AI simulates several tens of thousands of ways that the robotic arm could pick a product from randomly generated various states of stacked goods transported at various speeds. Based on the results of the simulation, the AI automatically generates image processing analysis training data(4) for deep learning(5) to analyze the information necessary to determine how to control the picking robot and the AGV, that is, determine the position of products which change with the state of how goods are stacked as well as the adjustment required in AGV speed. This system can be implemented and operated efficiently as the AI is not required to learn during the actual picking operation, it can be implemented and operated efficiently.

(2) Real-time multiple AI coordination control

Technology was developed to coordinate and control in real-time the AI for the robotic arm as well as the AI for the AGV, based on the AI that determines the optimal picking method from images of goods within cases taken as the AGV approaches the picking robot. This technology instructs the arm movement calculated from the position of the product to be picked to the AI that controls the picking robot, and instructs the AI controlling the AGV to accelerate or decelerate based on current speed. Further, the AI for the picking robot can confirm the speed and the location of the AGV in real time and conducts minor adjustments to prevent the arm from colliding with the case or other products, thus enabling efficient automatic picking as the AGV does not need to be stopped. (Figure 2)

http://www.acnnewswire.com/topimg/Low_HitachiAI518Fig2.jpg
Figure 2. Image of real time processing with multiple AI coordination control technology.

An in-house experiment utilizing this technology resulted in successful picking from AGV which moved non-stop at a speed of 0.5 meters per second. Further, it was found that by employing the new technology, the procedure which required 13 seconds with the conventional method of stopping the AGV to pick products, could be achieved in 8 seconds, a 38% improvement in speed.

Comment from Professor Sethu Vijayakumar FRSE, Personal Chair of Robotics at Edinburgh University and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

"We are delighted to see the successful results of more than two years of collaboration with the Hitachi R&D Group, Center for Technology Innovation, culminating in practical and deployable improvements in automated warehousing technology. Our robotics lab has been at the forefront of machine learning techniques for adaptive motion planning and control of complex multi-DOF robots and this provides an excellent opportunity to see this expertise used to solve real world problems."

Hitachi will continue efforts to contribute increasing logistic efficiency by working towards the commercialization of this technology as well as integrating it into its AGV, Racrew(6) and autonomous moving robot, HiMoveRO(7), among others.

(1) Picking is the operation of gathering goods and products according to electronic data and instructions such as at distribution warehouses and manufacturing plants, etc.
(2) An automated or automatic guided vehicles (AGV) transports boxes and shelves containing products to specified locations.
(3) A camera which can photograph RGB-D images as each pixel has both information on color (RGB) and distance (depth).
(4) Training data is used to teach machines to output appropriate answers to input data.
(5) Deep learning is a type of machine learning that mimics mechanisms of the brain's neural circuit. It is comprised of three elements: the input layer, hidden layers, and the output layer. By increasing the number of hidden layers, deep learning is capable of expressing complex models relative to conventional machine learning, and has displayed a high recognition rate in fields such as speech recognition, image recognition, etc.
(6) Racrew is a registered trademark of Hitachi, Ltd. in Japan.
(7) HiMoveRO is a registered trademark and product of Hitachi Plant Mechanics Co., Ltd. in Japan. (in Japanese)

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society's challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company's consolidated revenues for fiscal 2014 (ended March 31, 2015) totaled 9,761 billion yen ($81.3 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes power & infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at www.hitachi.com.

Source: Hitachi, Ltd.

Contact:
Hitachi Ltd
Corporate Communications
Tel: +81-3-3258-1111




Copyright 2018 JCN Newswire . All rights reserved.

More Stories By ACN Newswire

Copyright 2008 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of ACN Newswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of ACN Newswire. ACN Newswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked ...
The KCSP program is a pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers that offer Kubernetes support, consulting, professional services and training for organizations embarking on their Kubernetes journey. The KCSP program ensures that enterprises get the support they're looking for to roll out new applications more quickly and more efficiently than before, while feeling secure that there's a trusted and vetted partner that's available to support their production and operational needs.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...
xMatters helps enterprises prevent, manage and resolve IT incidents. xMatters industry-leading Service Availability platform prevents IT issues from becoming big business problems. Large enterprises, small workgroups, and innovative DevOps teams rely on its proactive issue resolution service to maintain operational visibility and control in today's highly-fragmented IT environment. xMatters provides toolchain integrations to hundreds of IT management, security and DevOps tools. xMatters is the ...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO at Isomorphic Software, presented a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and develop...
"There is a huge interest in Kubernetes. People are now starting to use Kubernetes and implement it," stated Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...