Ocado developing humanoid robots

British online supermarket Ocado is developing robots that will look, move and think like humans. These humanoid robots – with an active sensor head, two arms, two hands and moveable torso mounted on a wheeled mobile platform – will work collaborative ly with Ocado employees in its warehouses carrying objects, passing tools and helping clean up too.

Being developed as part of its five-year initiative, the ‘SecondHands’ project, these robots will be equipped with artificial intelligence allowing them to learn tasks on the job and sense when help is needed. In fact, Ocado had filed an application to the US Patent and Trademark Office for robots that could help pick and pack groceries in its warehouses.

“The ultimate aim is for humans to end up relying on collaborative robots because they have become an active participant in their daily tasks,” says Graham Deacon, robotics research team leader at Ocado Technology. “In essence the SecondHands robot will know what to do, when to do it and how to do it in a manner that a human can depend on.”

Ocado will build a testing facility in Hatfield to test the robots. It will also work with University College London, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Sapienza University of Rome and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

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