Robotics manufacturers are challenged to keep up with growing demand for autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs. Advantech Co. and MOV.AI this week announced that they are collaborating to streamline robot creation by providing manufacturers and integrators access to their industrial computing technology and AMR software, respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing labor shortages have created a surge in demand for mobile robots, which offer operational efficiency and flexibility, noted MOV.AI. AMR shipments increased by 53% in 2022 and could grow at an annual rate of about 50% through 2027, resulting in a total of 4 million installed units, according to Interact Analysis.
In addition, the analyst firm predicted that revenue could grow by 30% to 40% annually between 2022 and 2027. With only 14% of warehouses having adopted at least one order-fulfillment AMR as of 2021, “the potential for futher expansion is significant,” said MOV.AI and Advantech.
Advantech provides ruggedized hardware
Founded in 1983, Advantech offers hardware, software, embedded systems, design services, systems integration, and global logistics support. The Taipei, Taiwan-based company has an office in Milpitas, Calif., and said it supports a wide range of applications and industries.
Advantech said its edge computers are optimized for computing performance, functionality, and ease of deployment. They include the latest Intel processors and offer strong I/O flexibility to deliver optimal efficiency in multiple vertical markets, including automation, manufacturing, logistics, retail, and transportation, it said.
One such product is the UNO-238 V2, a compact Internet of Things (IoT) edge computer featuring a 12th Gen Intel Core i Processor and DDR5 SODIMM for high-speed multi-task computing and data transfer. This device has a compact form factor and optimized I/O design, making it suitable for most factory scenarios, said Advantech.
The UNO-238 V2 features a fanless and ruggedized design for challenging industrial environments. It can withstand a wide operating temperature range of -20 to 60°C (-4 to 140°F). With compatibility for terminal blocks, the UNO-238 V2 offers “excellent flexibility for electrical wiring,” the company claimed.
In addition, the system incorporates CANBus and supports M.2 B/M/E-Key for storage and wireless communication for zero-latency data exchange, as well as a stable connection between edge devices and the cloud. Advantech noted that the UNO-238 provides a “robust and reliable” option for makers of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and AMRs.
Another product, Advantech's MIC-770 V3, is a compact fanless system powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i socket-type (LGA1700) processor with the Intel R680E chipset. It provides high-performance computing, multiple I/O interfaces, and flexible expandability with the integration of i-Modules and iDoor technology.
For example, the MIC-770 V3 equipped with the MIC-75GF10 expansion module is compatible with the SKY-MXM-A2000 MXM GPU card, said Advantech. This provides machine vision and autonomous navigation capabilities for various applications, including wafer box handling, material handling, robotic arm operations, and more.
MIC-770 V3 also supports WISE-Edge365, which enables remote management for status monitoring and anomaly detection. With these features, the MIC-770 V3 can be deployed for various edge artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) applications as a data gateway or industrial controller, said Advantech.
MOV.AI software is based on ROS
MOV.AI provides software and a Web-based interface for building, deploying, and running intelligent robots. The MOV.AI Robotics Engine Platform is based on the Robot Operating System (ROS) and provides AMR manufacturers and automation integrators with enterprise-grade tools including navigation, localization, and calibration.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company said its platform features a visual Integrated Development Environment (IDE) based on ROS, as well as off-the-shelf algorithms and integrations. It also offers interoperable fleet management, flexible interfaces with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS) software, and cyber-security compliance.
“The growing demand for automation creates a need for secure interoperable systems that can be easily deployed and easily adapted to changing business needs,” said Motti Kushnir, CEO of MOV.AI. “We are excited about the collaboration with Advantech, as it provides our customers with comprehensive solutions that fit into a wider automation environment, providing continuing high value.”
Partners promise faster AMR development
The integration of Advantech's rugged hardware with MOV.AI's Robotics Engine Platform is intended to help businesses develop and deploy mobile robots. The companies said their collaboration will address the growing need for faster time-to-value, flexibility, improved efficiency, and higher productivity in manufacturing and logistics.
“Advantech is excited to cooperate with MOV.AI, and we look forward to providing an advanced state-of-the-art AGV/AMR solution in the robotics segment worldwide,” said David Jen, associate vice president of Advantech's Industrial IoT Group. “The key aspect of our collaboration is to ensure the interoperability of AMR ecosystem offerings and provide more comprehensive solutions to our customers.”
Advantech's competencies in hardware design and manufacturing and MOV.AI's expertise in ROS-based software will result in quicker and more efficient AMR deployments, said the companies.
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