ABB Robotics is equipping its autonomous mobile robots (AMR) with a technology that enables them to make smart navigational decisions. According to a press release from ABB Robotics, this technology developed jointly with Sevensense Robotics from Zurich combines artificial intelligence and 3D vision. It is called Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, or Visual SLAM for short.
Visual SLAM uses cameras mounted on the AMR, which are used to create a 3D map of all objects in the environment in real time. The technology can differentiate between fixed navigational reference points such as floors, ceilings, and walls and moving objects like people or vehicles. This means it can dynamically adapt to its environment so that it is able to choose the safest and most efficient route.
According to ABB, as the environment does not change, production does not need to be stopped, and no additional infrastructure must be established, the visual SLAM technology contributes to a reduction in operation time versus 2D SLAM of up to 20 percent. The first products are expected to come to market from Q3 2023.
ABB and Sevensense entered into a strategic partnership in November 2021. This comprises a minority interest in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich spin-off, which was founded in 2018. ABB acquired ASTI Robotics a few months prior to this. Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation, refers to the partnership with Sevensense as another milestone in the company's efforts to fully unlock flexible automation for its customers. ce/mm