Honeywell recently announced the creation of Honeywell Robotics, an advanced technology center focused on developing artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, computer vision and advanced robotics for use across supply chains.
Based in Pittsburgh, Honeywell Robotics was created to help shape the warehouse and distribution center of the future, particularly as companies look to automated solutions, software and robotics to deliver increased speed, accuracy and throughput in complex material handling environments. The new center will be led by Joseph Lui, a robotics leader with expertise in digital data, autonomous technologies and the industrial internet of things (IIoT).
“As AI, machine learning and computer vision become commonplace, Honeywell Robotics will create innovative, breakthrough technologies to help customers alleviate skilled labor shortages, reduce safety risks and eliminate inefficient tasks,” said Lui, who previously served as director of industrial IoT and automation technologies for Amazon. “The use of technology – including advanced warehouse execution systems, 3D storage and sortation solutions to improve capacity and efficiency, and autonomous mobile robots – is just the start of the digital transformation in warehouses.”
The establishment of the robotics center marks the continuation of Honeywell's technology transformation, which has included partnering with software vendors, universities, startups and incubators. Honeywell also is collaborating with AI researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center to develop robotics technologies for distribution centers. Through its Honeywell Ventures investment fund, the company has strategic investments in robotics companies to help automate complex tasks in dynamic environments to maximize productivity and labor efficiency.
Consumer expectations have caused a seismic shift in supply chain operations. According to eMarketer, online shopping currently accounts for nearly 15 percent of total retail sales and is expected to grow to 22 percent by 2023, representing more than $6.5 trillion in sales.
Online purchasing, combined with same- or next-day delivery options, has stressed the labor market to the point of a shortage. Nearly 80 percent of distribution center operations are still performed manually, according to DHL's Robotics in Logistics Study. With industry growth outpacing the labor pool by a rate of 6-to-1, this growth is creating significant opportunities to automate supply chains.
For more information, visit www.honeywell.com.