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Robotic grocery store

May 17, 2018.

3D-printed carbon bike.

Andover warehouse. © Ocado Group.

British on-line grocery store Ocado has developed an impressive robotic grocery order assembly platform. Videos of its Andover, Hampshire warehouse are mesmerizing: a swarm of 600 robots, coordinated through artificial intelligence, swish back and forth on a rail grid suspended above stacked product bins (bins can be stacked 21 high). This grid covers an area larger than a football field. The robots can transport dozens of kilos of product at a top speed of 4 m/s (14.4 km/h) with just 5 mm of separation between them. They receive instructions through 4G technology. The position of each product bin is determined by algorithms so that products that are often ordered together, are placed together; for example, canned soup and disposable razors. A 50-product order takes about 5 minutes to assemble. Eventually, the Andover facility will have 1,100 robots. Ocado has sold the technology to several supermarket chains, like French Casino last November, Canadian Sobeys in January, and more recently, ICA in Sweden and Kroger in the US.

Fortune, “Meet Ocado, Kroger's newest weapon in its grocery delivery war with Amazon and Walmart.”

The Verge, “Welcome to the automated warehouse of the future.”