At previous MODEX's, where they exhibit the latest manufacturing and supply chain equipment and technologies, Kiva had their own booth. Big booths with lots of people marveling at their orange robots. Today at MODEX, those orange robots were moving to a different drummer.
Amazon was marketing their full-service distribution service – and also doing some recruiting. Kiva was in the background playing a support role – which is what Amazon was marketing: that Amazon could do your distribution and fulfillment work for you.
At day 1 of MODEX, one could see lots of joint ventures involving robotics:
- Adept provides a mobile platform for Demantic's AGVs
- Yale provides a driverless lift for Seegrid's new autonomous forklift
- Seegrid provides the navigation and vision systems for Yale's new autonomous forklift
Also shown were many products meant to ease ergonomic strain on human workers.
- Caster and wheel companies were showing new technologies to reduce push and pull strain
- Coiled vacuum lifts for lifting boxes onto tables or conveyors
- Forklift companies were adding rollers on their forks to reduce torque needed to squeeze under a skid
This may explain why Google acquired Holomni, the creator of high-tech powered casters for omnidirectional motion… mobile consumer products in Google's future? If so, they'll need to make them much less expensive. At present, similar powered omnidirectional wheels with servos cost many thousand dollars each.
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