Humatics, Vecna Robotics partner to improve logistics robot navigation

Humatics

WALTHAM, Mass. — Humatics Corp., which makes microlocation products and software, today announced a partnership with logistics systems provider Vecna Robotics. Humatics’ KinetIQ 300 microlocation system will be integrated into Vecna’s self-driving vehicles, enabling them to navigate outdoors and in areas of warehouses that were previously considered difficult, such as loading docks, said the companies.

Humatics said its technology will also help Vecna vehicles detect centimeter-size objects from over four and a half football fields away. This increases navigation efficiency in warehouses with limited permanent infrastructure, as opposed to fixed shelving.

“We are excited to join forces with our Boston neighbor, Vecna Robotics,” said David Mindell, CEO and co-founder of Humatics. “Navigation for autonomous mobile robots in the warehouse has hit limitations that can only be remedied with more precise microlocation. Humatics created the KinetIQ 300 to give mobile robots of all shapes and sizes a reliable way to move freely between indoor and outdoor warehouse environments, dynamically adapting to people and things in constantly shifting spaces.”

Humatics and Vecna said that the combination of their microlocation technology and robotics will enable autonomous systems to do the following things better:

  • Navigate down to the centimeter in unstructured and highly dynamic environments, without delay. A worker may be moving boxes with a pallet jack in and out of a loading dock area, which can slow robots only equipped with lidar or fiducial stickers for navigation. Humatics’ KinetIQ 300 system enables robots to recognize these changes without confusion, with 2-cm repeatability from up to 500 meters away. This allows them to quickly identify and navigate around the smallest of obstacles, leading to significant increases in productivity.
  • Operate indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. For example, Vecna vehicles can move pallets from an outdoor loading dock to an indoor warehouse storage area, or move goods to and from different buildings.
  • Increase operational efficiency in facilities operating with 20+ automated vehicles. “Our current vehicles are already self-driving with high confidence, but Vecna is constantly looking to innovate and improve to deliver the best solutions for each of our customers,” stated Dan Patt, Vecna CEO. “To facilitate this, we seek to collaborate with industry experts, such as Humatics.”

Unlike other navigation systems such as magnetic tape, upward-facing vision, or laser fiducials – which are less flexible and have traditionally limited the benefits of autonomous guided vehicles for materials handling and warehouse operators – Vecna said it uses multiple sensors to ensure high-confidence navigation, drive topological reasoning, and enable dynamic obstacle avoidance.

This technology suite can now be expanded with Humatics’ microlocation, to address navigational challenges within highly active environments. The Humatics Spatial Intelligence Platform combines hardware, software, and analytics to help robots navigate more autonomously with seamless operation — both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions.

Humatics has raised more than $50 million for its microlocation technology. (Credit: Humatics)

About Humatics

Humatics said its microlocation technology is faster, more precise, and more affordable than any 3D positioning or location tracking technology on the market. Its microlocation products and analytics software comprise the Humatics Spatial Intelligence Platform, which is said is revolutionizing how people and machines locate, navigate, and collaborate in the connected world. Humatics raised $28 million in a Series A1 round in January.

With its extensible architecture and application programming interfaces (APIs), the Spatial Intelligence Platform powers a growing ecosystem of new position-based products and services. Humatics said it promises to transform huge markets, including industrial automation, next- generation construction, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities. Humatics is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., with an engineering center of excellence in Huntsville, Ala. More information is available at www.humatics.com.

About Vecna Robotics

Cambridge, Mass.-based Vecna Robotics delivers automated material handling, hybrid fulfillment, and workflow optimization solutions featuring self-driving vehicles operated by a learning autonomy stack. It said its systems can deliver value for customers in the distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing sectors. Vecna’s leaders say their technology goes beyond traditional automation and focuses on maximizing human and robot capability to create fulfilling jobs, increase productivity, and encourage innovation. For more information, visit www.vecnarobotics.com.