For the bot’s creators, Californian AI and robotics startup Covariant, the installation in Germany is a big step forward, and one that shows the firm has made great strides with a challenge that’s plagued engineers for decades: teaching robots to pick things up.
Google has run a stable of robot arms in an attempt to learn how to reliably grasp things, while Amazon holds an annual competition challenging startups to stock shelves with robots in the hope of finding a machine good enough for its warehouses.
This is particularly true in the world of warehouses and logistics, where experts say it’s difficult to find human workers and they need all the robots they can get.
Covariant uses a variety of AI methods to train its robots, including reinforcement learning: a trial and error process where the robot has a set goal and has to solve it itself.
“Non-AI robots can pick around 10 percent of the products used by our customers, but the AI robot can pick around 95 to 99 percent,” says Puchwein.
In Germany, Covariant’s picking robot is packing electronics components for a firm named Obeta, but the company says it’s eager for more robots to compensate for a staff shortage – a situation common in logistics.
What about the employees that Covariant’s robots now operate alongside – do they mind the change? According to Pultke, they don’t see it as a threat, but an opportunity to learn how to maintain the robots and get a better type of job.
This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.