As supply chains become more complex, managing inventory in warehouses becomes more labor-intensive, error-prone and time-consuming, particularly in large warehouses. The InWareDrones project aims to develop a completely autonomous drone-based inventory management system that provides continuous live feedback and high-quality data. This will help save businesses hundreds of man-hours.
The success of e-commerce and the flexible production of personalized products have significant impacts on inventory management. Even with cutting-edge warehouse management software and tools – such as RFID, barcode scanning and robots – inventory work continues to require heavy labor, specialized equipment and large amounts of time. This results in key risks such as lower data quality, accidents and lost time, especially in large warehouses and those using tall racks.
The InWareDrones consortium is composed of imec, Flanders Make and leading references in aerial robotics, wireless power transfer, mechatronics and inventory management automation. These partners will collaborate to develop the first autonomous drone-based inventory management solution: one that can be set up rapidly, supports combination of multiple inventory techniques and offers real-time wireless communication.
Four multidisciplinary goals will be addressed by the consortium:
InWareDrones will advance the state-of-the-art in hardware, software and algorithms for fully automatic inventory management solutions that use drones. The project will also provide insights into technological and economic tradeoffs to define viable business models for the solution. Finally, demonstrators will be developed for a permanent warehouse system as well as a drone inventory as-a-service model.
“The InWareDrones project will develop an autonomous drone-based inventory management system that provides continuous live feedback and high-quality, high-frequency data. This will help save companies hundreds of man-hours.”