- March 03, 2020
ABB, a supplier of industrial robots, and Silicon Valley AI start-up, Covariant, announced a partnership to bring AI-enabled robotics solutions to market, starting with a fully autonomous warehouse order fulfilment solution.
The partnership brings together the two companies with a shared vision for robotics enabled by AI, where intelligent robots work alongside humans in dynamic environments, collectively learning and improving with every task completed.
ABB launched a global competition in 2019 to assess 20 leading AI technology start-ups on their approach to solutions for 26 real-world picking, packing and sorting challenges. The aim was to understand if AI is mature enough to unlock the potential for robotics and automation in the segment. ABB also sought a technology partner with which to co-develop a robust AI solution capable of supporting autonomous materials handling, enabling its robots to handle items of infinite variety.
The Covariant Brain is a universal AI that allows robots to see, reason and act in the world around them, completing tasks too complex and varied for traditional programmed robots. Covariant’s software enables robots to engage in reinforcement learning: adapting to new tasks on their own through trial and error and therefore constantly broadening the range of objects they can pick.
The first installation of the ABB and Covariant AI-enabled solution is already being deployed at Active Ants (part of the bpost group), a leading provider of e-commerce fulfilment services for web businesses in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
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