Drones developed by the Zurich-based start-up Verity Studios AG are now being put to work in the furniture stores and warehouses of IKEA. On evenings and Sundays, when no employees are on site, the drones have space to fly around and count palettes. They can also scan barcodes and send data to a system. At the same time, the drones are able to detect damage to palettes and recognize other risks.
IKEA has already tested the drones as part of a pilot project conducted at its site in Spreitenbach in the canton of Aargau, details of which can be found in a press release. According to Helge Nilsson, Logistics Manager at IKEA in Spreitenbach, the drones perfectly compliment human employees, as manually counting palettes had previously eaten up several hours each day. Now, however, the drones are able to complete such tasks on Sundays.
On the back of successful testing in Spreitenbach, IKEA is now planning to deploy the drones at other sites across Switzerland as well. IKEA stores in other countries should then follow suit at a later date.
Verity was founded by Raffaelo D’Andrea as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). D’Andrea was also the founder of the company Kiva Systems, which was sold for a price of 775 million US dollars to Amazon in 2012. Up to now, Verity has above all been known for concert appearances with stars such as Céline Dion. Now, however, the drones are in the process of being tested for new application areas. In addition to IKEA, the Danish logistics specialists DSV have also been carrying out a pilot project with Verity.