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Prime Vision and Delft Robotics agree postal logistics automation partnership

Prime Vision and Delft Robotics have agreed a new technology partnership that will see the pair work together to advance automation in postal logistics applications. The postal recognition technology of Prime Vision will complement perfectly the expertise of Delft Robotics to quick and robustly apply robots based on 3D machine vision using deep learning.

By combining the high flexibility of robotic arms with the versatile sensing capabilities of 3D vision technology, it will be possible to provide solutions to automation problems that have – until now – been impossible or too expensive to develop. Intelligent robotic systems use a combination of technologies that allow the system to ‘look’ at its work environment. In this way, robotic systems are able to cope with product differences, which is particularly important in the postal sector, where the processing of parcel variety remains a major barrier to wide scale robot adoption.

The partnership between Prime Vision and Delft Robotics will also lend itself to integration with the Internet of Things (IoT). Both companies believe that the mid-term future of postal logistics will see printed electronics propel the sector into a world where every parcel is ‘smart’, which in turn will demand the evolution of recognition methodology. Working in partnership, Prime Vision and Delft Robotics will be able to realise dynamic and cost-effective solutions for this exciting environment quicker than would be possible if acting in isolation.

Among the core focus areas of Prime Vision’s Innovation Department is robotics. Here, trends in greater computing power and vision potential are making robots far more mobile than they were in the past. Applying this school of thought to postal logistics, pick and place robots are becoming a reality. These robots will be able to recognise each parcel type, grasp it accordingly and place it where required.

Already demonstrating its expertise in this area, Delft Robotics won the prestigious 2016 Amazon Picking Challenge twice. By applying deep learning on 3D images the robot was able to effectively recognize and grasp a great variety of products. Items ranged widely in shape, from soft clothing and boxed DVDs, to water bottles and toothbrushes, indicating the system’s recognition potential. In the postal sector, the ability of a robot to learn, recognise and grasp a large diversity of parcel shapes clearly has tremendous process value.

Ultimately, the new partnership between Prime Vision and Delft Robotics will allow company experts to join forces and empower each other. Delft Robotics AI robot vision technology and Prime Vision’s knowledge of the global CEP (courier, express and postal) market presents a tremendous opportunity for the whole industry. Solutions will be faster-to-market, smarter and more cost-effective.

The pair are now planning to begin joint R&D with one or more postal companies that are looking to take advantage of the significant competitive gains on offer.


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