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Ware drones read RFID to track warehouse inventory.

Published :10/27/2020 2:30:25 AM

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In recent years, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Fraunhofer Association have both announced the development of a system that uses flying drones to track warehouse inventory. The Ware system provides a unique concept and has been used in multiple locations. Ware was developed by a San Francisco-based startup of the same name, and it incorporates autonomous Skydio 2 quadcopters that charge batteries when they perch on "nests" in the warehouse.


According to a pre-set schedule, they will take off regularly and fly along rows of stacked pallets-either back and forth or up and down-and then return to the nest after completion.

When each drone flies, its onboard camera will record the image of a sticker similar to a QR code on each shelf, as well as the barcode of each pallet on the shelf. The sticker code and barcode are the unique codes for each shelf and pallet respectively.

Therefore, when the video is processed by the cloud server, Ware can show users which trays are on which shelves - and where these shelves are in the warehouse. In addition, because the system knows the contents of each pallet, it can track the quantity of any particular product currently in the building.

In contrast, the Fraunhofer and MIT systems are not based on vision. Instead, they use drones to read RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags.