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How Robots Are Succeeding (and Failing) in The World of Logistics
Aaron Prather, Senior Advisor, Technology Planning & Research | FedEx Express
Robotics systems are being introduced into the world of logistics at an increasing rate. While some robotics systems and the companies employing them have achieved their goals, many other deployments have been unsuccessful. Some of these failures are due to technological issues, but more commonly, humans are the primary source of deployment problems. In this insightful and informed presentation, FedEx’s Aaron Prather, who has successfully deployed robotics applications within FedEx (and has seen other initiatives go off the rails), will review the continuing opportunities for robotics solutions in the logistics sector. He will also point out those circumstances that lead to deployment failures, either the result of technology issues, or simply misunderstandings between the Robotic World and the Logistics World. He will also share his insights into how everyone can win if some common human missteps are addressed.
From 1 to 1,000: Lessons Learned in Scaling a Robot Fleet
Sarjoun Skaff, CTO, Co-Founder | Bossa Nova
Bossa Nova Robotics is one of the leaders in the retail robotics sector, providing large retailers with inventory-scanning robots that move up and down aisles, tracking inventory supply levels via computer vision and artificial intelligence to keep items available for customers. After a number of pilot projects, the company recently announced expansion of several programs, providing more than 1,000 robots through various partnerships.
In this informative keynote, Sarjoun Skaff, CTO and co-founder of Bossa Nova, will provide highlights of the journey from the beginnings of the company (including a key pivot moment) and the challenges along the way. Robot companies looking to move beyond the startup phase and pilot programs can learn valuable lessons on how to work with customers and partners, managing the supply chain for startups, talking with investors for growth capital, and what challenges lie for many “scale-ups.”
Robots on the Edge: How Smarter Machines Will Enable Custom Manufacturing
Juan Aparicio, Head of Advanced Manufacturing Automation | Siemens Corporate Technology
As manufacturing moves from mass production to mass customization, there is a strong need for more flexible automation and intelligent machines. Autonomy, understood as the evolution of automation combined with artificial intelligence and digitization, promises to solve this problem. But nothing comes for free – autonomous machines will require a powerful brain, which may reside on the cloud or at the edge.
In this powerful session, Siemens’ Juan Aparicio will present the latest technologies and advances in edge robotics, including robotic sewing, bin picking, and electronics assembly techniques.
The New Investment Model for Robotics Startups
Fady Saad, Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships | MassRobotics
Despite the huge success of “startup escalation” models featuring shared infrastructure, prototyping and strategic capabilities, robotics startups still have a significant challenge to find the right investors especially on the pre-revenue stages. There is a clear funding gap for robotics startups as most VCs have been either focusing on 1) software investment with their standard valuations, rounds sizes, and exit potential outputs/metrics, or 2) biotech/life science opportunities which also have their own established investment metrics and framework. Robotics investment falls, however, falls in between these types, which makes it very hard to find the right investors who understand these two extremes.
In this session, Fady Saad, Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships for MassRobotics will share his experience as the co-founder of the US largest robotics commercialization hub (startup escalator). Information gleaned from exposure to hundreds robotics startups and early/growth investors will be presented, along with a new model for investment in robotics.
The Life and Times of ROS2: A Look at the Future of Robotics Infrastructure
Steve Macenski, Open-Source Robotics Lead | Samsung Research
Since 2007, Robot Operating System (ROS) has changed the way robots are built. In an effort to improve ROS to be appropriate for commercial and industrial solutions, Open Robotics released ROS 2 in 2018 supported by leading companies such as Samsung, Microsoft, and Amazon.
ROS2 provides strict messaging guarantees, security, and modern tools for deterministic robot behavior. ROS 2 provides for higher-quality, robust solutions for many aspects of robotics development and deployment including simulation, communications, manipulation, navigation and more. Long-term support for ROS is ending in less than 5 years and the entire robotics industry must transition to the new meta-operating system.
In this informative session, Steve Macenski, Open-Source Robotics Lead for Samsung Research, will provide decision makers with critical ROS2 information. The evolution of ROS2 since 2018 will be described, along with current status of ROS2 for professional use. The results of a survey of notable ROS2 users in industry will also be provided, along with a roadmap for the future. He will also highlight notable aspects of Eloquent, the latest release of ROS2.
Motion Control and Robotics Opportunities
Panel Leader: Eugene Demaitre, Senior Editor, Robotics | WTWH Media
‘Motion’ in the physical world, whether in the form of changing place, position or posture, is perhaps the greatest differentiator between robotic systems and all other classes of engineered products. It is motion is that makes robotics systems ‘robotic’, and it is advances in motion control technologies that have spurred robotics innovation, with the result that there has been a dramatic increase in the use of robotics technologies and products around the globe. In this panel session, attendees will learn how support for robotic motion control has improved with the introduction of new products and technologies, and how they allow for new capabilities, new applications, and entry into new markets. Case studies and product examples will be used to highlight salient points. Topics include:
- Motion and Movement
- Motion Control Products and Technologies
- Robotic Motion Control Trends
- Applications and Vertical Markets
- Motion Control and Robotics Opportunities
Robotics-as-a-Service Business Models
One general trend among technology providers – including robotics companies – is the migration away from selling products to selling services. For some types of robotic firms, a business model that relies on largely on hardware sales is simply untenable. As such, service-oriented business models are becoming more common in the robotics sector where the high upfront capital expenditures for systems and risk aversion to new technologies on part of protentional customers can impede growth. In this panel, business, legal, technical and operational aspects of the Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model will be analyzed and discussed. Examples of companies embracing and successfully employing a RaaS approach will be provided.
Partnering with Engineering and Manufacturing Services Providers
Engineering and manufacturing services providers (ESP) play a critical role in the design, development and manufacture of many classes of commercial class robotics solutions. The services they provide range from the short term and tactical, to longer client engagements requiring deep domain expertise and end-to-end solutions involving co-innovation and shared financial risk. In this panel session, attendees will learn about the wide variety of engineering services offerings that are available for creating robust robotics technologies and products, as well as ESP selection criteria, business models and service agreement options. Case studies will be used to highlight critical points.
Overcoming Warehouse Challenges Using Mobile Robots
Corey A. Cook, Senior Program Manager and Solutions Architect | Lockheed Martin
Demand for split-case or each-case picking, where individual items are picked from bins or open cartons, is increasing rapidly, presenting additional challenges to warehouses already straining under ever tightening schedules, increasing customer demand and labor shortages. As a result, companies are turning to technological advances to streamline their warehouse processes and increase productivity. In this informative session, attendees will learn how collaborative robots and other fulfillment center automation systems helped Lockheed Martin improve their operational efficiencies, while also empowering their workforce.
The Automation of Manual Vehicles: Insights, Analysis and Opportunities
Rian Whitton, Research Analyst | ABI Research
In this session, Rian Whitton, Senior Analyst at ABI Research will analyze one of the biggest opportunities for providers of robotics technologies – the retrofitting of manual vehicles used in a wide variety of industries to support autonomous navigation. The session will include data on shipments and revenues, as well as overviews of well-known providers of autonomous navigation solutions including Brain Corporation, BlueBotics, Built Robotics and Outrider. Ongoing opportunities will also be discussed. Topics include:
- Form Factors
- Passenger Vehicles
- Field Vehicles
- Forklifts & Pallet Stackers
- Maintenance Vehicles (scrubbers, cleaners)
- Leading Providers / Key OEMs
- Fleet Management Solutions
- Case Studies
- Ongoing Opportunities
The Future of Robotic Manipulation With ROS and MoveIt
Dave Coleman, CEO | PickNik Robotics
Due to its business-friendly licensing, active community and impressive feature set, Robot Operating System (ROS) has become a de facto standard for robotics systems development for research groups, startups, and large companies around the world. One of the most popular components within ROS is MoveIt, a widely used software platform for advanced robotics manipulation platform, including mobile manipulation. Yet despite its popularity, many challenges must be overcome for MoveIt to achieve both fast computations and planning for complex global motion. This is one of the main development goals of MoveIt 2, which is enabled by ROS 2, a second generation, commercially hardened and technically extended version of ROS. In this session, Dave Coleman, CEO of PickNik Robotics, will review ROS / ROS 2 and MoveIt / MoveIt 2, as well as comment on the characteristics of real-time motion planning and why it is difficult to achieve. A hybrid approach for real-time motion planning will be described, along with a roadmap to achieve it.
Cybersecurity and Robotics Systems: Vulnerabilities and Solutions Summary
Satyajit Sinha, Research Analyst | Counterpoint Research
One class of edge products, rarely mentioned in the typical IoT discussions and analyses, also provide for actuation. That is, they are robotic devices. Like other ‘connected’ IoT devices, robotics systems are open to security threats, which can be one roadblock to their widespread deployments. In this session, Counterpoint Research’s Satyajit Sinha will discuss current and future cyber security threats to networked robotics systems, highlighting their vulnerabilities in the process. He will also describe various cyber security solutions and provide a competitive landscape of security solutions for robotics systems.
Managing Robot Fleets at Scale
Florian Pestoni, CEO and Co-Founder | InOrbit, Inc.
While a single robot can complete a small number of specific tasks, robotics deployment at scale can address broader needs, from food production, to shelter, to giving people access to the products they love in a fraction of the time it once took. In modern applications of robotics and autonomy, there is an increasing need for guiding principles for how to manage these technologies at scale. What works for one robot is unlikely to work for 1,000.
In this panel, companies, organizations and individuals involved in the Robot Operations Working Group (ROWG) will introduce its Robot Operations Manifesto, best practices for robot operations at scale, which the group believes will accelerate the adoption of robotics. In providing the four pillars of robot operations, the talk will share ways for the broader robotics community to get involved.