Companies like Amazon, Google Express or Flipkart will have huge warehouses with plenty of products arranged in shelves across the entire floor. When a customer orders any product online, their staff has to quickly run to the shelf where the item is located and then put it on a cart and carry it towards the shipment facility. This will be a painful experience for human beings working in such warehouses since they have to keep running from one place to another for the whole day and also haul huge carts filled with products that are to be shipped. Fetch Robotics has come up with amazing Fetch and Freight robots to solve this logistics problem in warehouses.
Fetchrobotics is a San Jose based silicon valley startup that provides robotics solutions for logistics and material handling in warehouses or industries. Their product includes “Freight” which is robot acting as the mobile base and another robot named “Fetch” which acts as the mobile manipulator. They have also developed “fetchcore” which is the fleet management software to manage these autonomous robots. This application helps the facility managers to customize workflows by adding preferred routes, speed maps, keep-out zones and drop-off location so that freights will follow the traffic rules correctly. You can also install custom modules to this software using the REST API.
Fetch Robotics received $20 million in Series A funding from Softbank Group US, a unit of Japan’s Softbank corporation initially during Jan 2015. They also received additional $ 3million in funding from O’Reilly AlphaTech ventures and Shasha Ventures during Feb last year.
Led by the CEO Melonee Wise, the team at Fetch Robotics is designing advanced robotic solution to the logistics industry. The founder and CEO Melonee Wise holds a PhD in mechanical engineering and has been designing, building and programming robots for the last 14 years. He had also co-founded 2 startups for building robots earlier before starting this venture. Michael Ferguson acts as the CTO of the company who also has extensive experience in designing electronics, sensors and controls to build advanced robotic hardware. At present they have a team of 40 engineers who are working to design advanced robots using the open source Robot operating system.
All their robots are built using open-source Robot operating system to work autonomously in warehouses alongside workers. They perform the repetitive tasks in warehouses like picking, packing and hauling the goods etc. autonomously. Their products Fetch and Freight are used in tandem to handle huge number of repetitive tasks in a warehouse. The Fetch robot has a back-drivable 7 DOF manipulator arm which can lift maximum of six kilograms and is sufficient to handle 90-95% items in a typical warehouse. The robot is fitted with a PrimeSense 3D sensor in its head which can pan and rotate and is capable of detecting collisions in advance. Freight acts as a mobile base with multiple mounting points and can hold a maximum of 70kg. They both have charging docks in their back and consume very less power despite their incredible performance. They both are capable of intelligent autonomous driving and are very easy to maintain.
The question which will rise among the customers is how much will these robots cost. The approximate pricing of Fetch would be less than $100,000 while Freight will cost just 1/3 the cost of Fetch. In addition, you should also plan for the cost of fleet management software. They launched their products in Q2 2015 and they have partnered with SAP to offer virtual conveyor solutions for warehouses. They already have plenty of ecommerce based customers across US and are growing steadily.