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Using drones to track warehouse inventory

30 July 2022

Way back in August of last year, the launch of Corvus Robotics in the Actuator newsletter was highlighted. The Boston-based firm is one of a handful of start-ups looking to leverage indoor drones to help warehouses keep track of inventory. It’s a clever solution that’s been thus far difficult to achieve solely with wheeled robots, which have quite a bit of trouble reaching those top shelves.

Corvus is positioning its product as the “first unmanned warehouse inventory drones to enable fully automated inventory management,” though the company is far from alone in its solution. It did, however, just get a nice leg up in the form of a US$5 million seed round, led by Spero Ventures and featuring S2G Ventures, One Way Ventures, Flight Ventures and F7 Ventures. The company is a Y Combinator graduate, and the venture firm is also taking part in this early round.

Corvus’s drones are custom built for the job, featuring indoor obstacle avoidance and the ability to read barcodes, even in low-light warehouse conditions. The systems also feature an on-board autonomy stack, so they can keep operating even in poor Wi-Fi conditions — which are a bit of a constant in these sorts of settings.

Naturally, Corvus is citing ongoing labour shortages and pervasive supply chain issues as big drivers in helping raise this funding round. “The supply chain shocks in the past several years have affected companies of all sizes,” CTO Mohammed Kabir says in a release. “Every piece of inventory going to the right place is important. We’re building an end-to-end suite of solutions automating inventory visibility across the warehouse workflow, starting with drones for inventory scans.”

The round brings the company’s full funding to date up to US$8 million. As you’d expect, it’s largely going toward scaling the technology and advancing R&D. Among other things Corvus is looking to move its offering beyond simple storage, tracking inventory from the moment it enters to the time it leaves.

Source: TechCrunch

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