GEODIS has been experimenting with warehouse inventory by drones for almost two years now.
In partnership with drone manufacturer DELTA DRONE, GEODIS has tested automated drones in real-time conditions in its sites and is now ready to industrialize the prototype.
The solution is comprised of a quadcopter drone fitted with high-resolution cameras and a ground-based robot equipped with a battery. These flying drones use indoor geolocation technology to move autonomously and safely within the warehouse. They scan the barcodes of the pallets and their locations, report this data in real time, process it and send/retrieve it to/from the Warehouse Management System (WMS).
This innovative solution enables GEODIS to handle inventory in a 100% automated way during the hours when a site is closed. It therefore increases warehouse productivity, as there is no need to close it during inventory days, request additional personnel or stop all logistics activity. The solution also guarantees greater safety at work for the site’s employees – scanning pallets 12 meters high can be a risky task.
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After almost two years of development, GEODIS and DELTA DRONE have decided to industrialize the prototype. the project’s results have been extremely positive after more than 1,000 hours of tests done within GEODIS sites in France. In Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône (Paris area), for example, one drone is able to inventory 11,000 pallets within 6 hours with 100% reliability (assuming the labels are not damaged).
The industrialized solution will be operational by the end of 2018. Then, GEODIS warehouses across the globe will be able to start taking advantage of the system over the next year, with one drone operating at 5 sites.
The use of drones is just one example of how GEODIS is moving towards the logistics of tomorrow. Discover more about our innovations in the article by “Usine nouvelle” – a weekly French magazine on business and technology (in French).