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Boston Dynamics Debuts Warehouse Automation Solution

Image via Boston Dynamics

In a world dominated by e-commerce and the expectation of almost immediate delivery, the use of robotics in warehouses has become vital in recent years. Amazon and Walmart are some of the most notable companies that have turned to robots to help their human employees meet their customers' demands.

Boston Dynamics, which frequently pops up in the news with its futuristic robot videos, unveiled its latest box-moving robot named Stretch yesterday. Stretch is Boston Dynamics' solution to the growing demand from the logistics industry for flexible automation solutions.

The debut of Stretch also marks Boston Dynamics' official entrance into warehouse automation, which the company notes is being fueled by demand in e-commerce. Stretch is designed specifically for warehouse facilities and distribution centers, of which there are more than 150,000 globally.

Stretch is designed to tackle tasks where rapid box moving is required such as unloading or preparing orders. Boston Dynamics touts Stretch as a solution for any warehouse that can increase the flow of goods, help employees with dangerous physical tasks and lower expensive fixed automation costs as it doesn't require costly fixed automation infrastructure.

"Warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods," Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter said. "Mobile robots enable the flexible movement of materials and improve working conditions for employees. Stretch combines Boston Dynamics' advancements in mobility, perception and manipulation to tackle the most challenging, injury-prone case-handling tasks, and we're excited to see it put to work."

Stretch is also equipped with a custom-designed lightweight arm and a smart-gripper that can handle different package surface types. Stretch also includes Boston Dynamics' computer vision technology which can easily identify boxes and doesn't require extensive training for each customer.

Boston Dynamics says it is looking for customers to pilot truck unloading tasks using Stretch through its Stretch Early Adopter Program before commercial deployment in 2022.

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