CommonSense Robotics is a small Tel-Aviv based start-up that is taking Instacart and the autonomous vehicle (AV) concept one stage further and into the shopping business. They have developed a robotic warehouse that fits into a local neighborhood. All it requires from its human owners is to stock its shelves with quality products, and the rest will be done automatically.
Since all grocery stores use humans to stock shelves, and since produce buyers want to be sure that what they get is of the best quality, replacing the stocking side of the equation will take longer. However, picking groceries from shelves, packaging them and preparing them for delivery can be automated. This is what commonsense Robotics has done. The reason they have done it is to allow small retailers the ability to compete with large e-retailers like Amazon. Where the logistics process is where the action is focused.
Taking the Instacart concept of a personal shopper and adding the “driverless car” concept, replacing the shopper with a robot, will reduce overheads as well as mistakes and allow a fully automated warehouse the freedom to operate efficiently.
Elram Goren, CEO of CommonSense Robotics told the press “Imagine a world where it is cheaper to shop online than to go to the supermarket, and faster than if you were to go to the supermarket and go home.” What Goren is aiming at is when AV is fully operational, and we will end up with a completely automated process, from shelf to door with robotics.
Since most retailers have warehouse space, robotics will enable more shelving space and less aisle space, creating a more efficient ratio of product per meter. It will also enable an immediate inventory count as a robot will automatically update the bin or shelf level as it takes the product off the shelf. The next step will be for the robots to fill the shelves, which will reduce the human interface into only purchasing the products, receiving them and arranging them in lots for collection and shelving. Cleaning will still remain an issue for humans to contend with unless Goren can create a warehouse cleaning robot that will dust and clean all the shelves and bins as well.
The beauty of CommonSense Robotics is that it will either reduce rent or space costs, as well as reduce employment costs, increase productivity and enable a retailer to wake up in the morning to readily filled boxes of goods. Since robots don’t sleep, an automated system will start to work the minute an order is confirmed.