famous for its playful innovations in robotics including its dog ‘spot’ and its dynamic humanoid, the team at boston dynamics explores a more logistical endeavor with its latest robot, ‘stretch.’ while its more zoomorphic counterparts and their wide range of motion present an unlimited range of possible uses, the robot ‘stretch’ lives only for one task — to move boxes in warehouses. the box-moving bot is born out of the growing demand for flexible automation solutions in the logistics industry. stretch’s debut marks the boston dynamics’ official entrance into warehouse automation, a fast-growing market fueled by increased demand in e-commerce.
Boston Dynamics is bringing mobility to warehouse automation. Watch Stretch – our new case handling robot – move, groove and unload trucks.
— Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) March 29, 2021
boston dynamics creates stretch as its first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers. the mobile robot is designed to tackle a number of box-moving tasks, first starting with truck unloading and later expanding into order building. while stretch’s technology continues the company’s advancements in robotics, this step will work to improve warehouse workflow and conditions. stretch seeks to increase warehouses’ flow of goods, improve employee safety in physically difficult tasks, and lower expensive fixed automation costs.
images courtesy of boston dynamics
the team at boston dynamics designs stretch as a mobile worker, unlike the limited fixed infrastructure found in most warehouses. the bot sits atop a small, omni-directional mobile base that allows it to navigate loading docks, maneuver in tight spaces, and adapt to changing facility layouts. the robot is equipped with a lightweight, custom-designed arm and a smart-gripper with advanced sensing and controls that can handle a large variety of boxed and shrink-wrapped cases. stretch also includes boston dynamics’ computer vision technology that enables it to identify boxes easily and without extensive training for each customer. its vision system works together with ‘pick & place’ activity, enabling high pick rates.
CEO of boston dynamics robert playter comments: ‘warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods. 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.’ the team is currently seeking customers to pilot test deployment of stretch with truck unloading tasks ahead of its commercial deployment in 2022.