Zero-touch Inventory Scanning
Friday 24 June 2023
One of the greatest benefits of the Verity system is its ability to scan warehouse inventory with complete autonomy. This means that both the system itself and the drones that capture inventory data across the warehouse operate without direct human control. From end to end, the system delivers on the promise of zero-touch inventory scanning.
When describing advanced systems, the word ‘autonomy’ tends to be used loosely, often indicating that a system or device simply reduces the work of a human operator. The Verity system, however, is completely hands-free.
In the cloud, the drones’ missions are created based on historical and real-time data points, to check locations that require verification. The missions determine which drones to send to which locations, and in which order, to optimize the cycle count.
Once the inventory manager confirms which locations to scan and schedules the task, any warehouse co-worker can begin the process by simply clicking a button to unlock the drones at the end of the shift. The drones then take off, fly to each location they are scheduled to scan, and complete the task. When their battery runs low, they autonomously land and recharge while other drones continue the mission. This entire cycle takes place with no dedicated operator on site, including at night or at weekends, without the need for any lighting. Once the cycle count is complete, the system distills the collected data into critical insights delivered directly to the Verity dashboard or existing WMS.
The advantages of zero-touch inventory scanning include:
- Optimal labor utilization and improved employee safety.
The zero-touch system eliminates the dull, tedious, and often dangerous task of manual inventory scanning, freeing up workers to focus on other tasks and saving countless labor hours. By keeping workers safely on the ground, the system minimizes job hazards, including repetitive motion injuries and the potential for more serious trauma due to falls from heights.
- Ability to scan in complex warehouse environments.
Verity’s localization system enables the drones to autonomously navigate through facilities of any size with centimeter-level precision. Using Automated 3D Facility Mapping, the drones know exactly where they are in space and which locations they are scanning. If a given location is not easily accessible (due to crooked placement on the rack, poorly placed labels, etc.), the drones automatically troubleshoot by scanning the location from a different angle or position. To enable scanning in warehouses where wi-fi is inconsistent or of low-quality, the drones are able to complete their assigned tasks and return to a charger without connecting to the network. The drones also carry their own light source, enabling them to fly and navigate in complete darkness.
- Ease of scheduling and obstacle avoidance.
Inventory managers can schedule which locations to scan from the dashboard—from anywhere, anytime—and schedule no-fly zones as needed. Unexpected obstacles in scheduled zones are handled by a collision avoidance system comprised of multiple sensors on each drone. If an obstacle is encountered, the drone automatically plans a new route, then shares information about the detected obstacle with the other drones. (Though still in development, this capability will soon enable the drones to work safely alongside workers and forklifts in warehouses with 24/7 operation.)
- No need to continuously change or monitor drone batteries.
As part of a fully connected system, the drones work as an integrated group. As soon as an in-flight drone needs to recharge, it simply returns to the charging station and another drone takes up the task until the mission is complete.
The Verity system and the individual drones are built in-house and from the ground up to operate completely hands free. It is not retrofitted to ‘seem’ autonomous, and the system does not require an operator to be present at any time during the scanning process. With zero-touch inventory scanning, users can capture accurate inventory data and gain the critical insights they need to enable a zero-error warehouse.
To learn more about Verity’s autonomous capabilities, get in touch with one of our experts.