ABB Robotics unveils new AMR with Visual SLAM navigation

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ABB says it will continue to advance its portfolio to meet the growing market needs for mobile robots. | Source: ABB

ABB Robotics has announced its first Flexley Tug T702 autonomous mobile robot (AMR). ABB equipped the Flexley Tug with AI-based Visual SLAM navigation technology and its new AMR Studio software. The company says this technology simplifies configuration and can reduce commissioning time by up to 20%.

The Zürich, Switzerland-based company’s AMR Studio software enables first-time robot users to program and operate entire fleets of robots. This latest announcement follows the company’s acquisition of Sevensense in January. At the time, ABB said it was interested in offering more autonomy and cognitive intelligence in its AMRs.

“Following our acquisition of Sevensense in January, I’m pleased to offer our first AMR with AI-based Visual SLAM technology and AMR Studio software. This combination of mobile robotics and leading AI-powered navigation technology brings unmatched intralogistics flexibility and scalability for ABB’s customers, in an environment that is shifting from linear production to dynamic manufacturing networks,” Marc Segura, President of ABB Robotics, said in a release. “The AMR T702 is a perfect match for a wide range of industries, such as automotive, consumer goods sector or logistics, especially in large, busy warehouses and fulfillment centers where the environment is constantly changing.“

Inside Visual SLAM technology

Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visual SLAM) technology combines AI and 3D vision to help robots make intelligent decisions and differentiate between fixed and mobile objects in a dynamic environment.

Using Visual SLAM technology, mobile robots can create a map of their environment. This allows them to operate independently, reduce commissioning time from weeks to days, and enable fully autonomous operation in highly complex, dynamic environments alongside people. ABB’s robots are constantly updating these maps and sharing updated maps across the fleet. This makes it easy for customers to scale across operations and gives them greater flexibility compared to other navigation technologies.

Sevensense, which spun out of ETH Zurich in 2018, specializes in Visual SLAM technology. ABB had invested in Sevensense in 2021, the same year it acquired ASTI Mobile Robotics for $190 million. The industrial automation provider had added the startup’s VSLAM technology to its AMRs over the past few years.

ABB’s AMR Studio

ABB says the capabilities offered by Visual SLAM are further enhanced by the launch of its AMR Studio. The software enables inexperienced users to easily create and configure AMR routes and jobs, with no programming knowledge needed, according to the company.

AMR Studio streamlines the process of setting up an entire AMR fleet from start to finish, according to ABB. The platform guides users through the necessary steps, from environment mapping to mission generation and system configuration.

Once the fleet is up and running, AMR Studio Fleet Manager software puts users in full control of what is happening on the shop floor, ABB says. The system’s intelligent order assignment feature uses algorithms to ensure orders are distributed efficiently. Real-time visualization and data monitoring provides ABB’s customers with full traceability.

The software’s flexible, userfriendly interface also makes AMR fleets more easily scalable by putting users directly in control of system modifications and adding new routes. ABB says it plans to expand its AMR portfolio with Visual SLAM navigation technology and AMR Studio in the future.

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