Plus One Robotics Inc., a robotic automation has released its first commercial product, a software and hardware combination designed for logistics piece-picking applications.
Plus One, which is based in San Antonio said it has raised $2.35 million in venture funding from a funding round led by Schematic Ventures, with participation from Lerer Hippeau, ff Ventures, First Star, and Dynamo. Plus One, which currently has 11 employees, said it plans to use the proceeds to hire about 20 more people within a year.
The firm’s product combines 2-D and 3-D computer vision systems with machine learning software to create a picking system that can be matched with robotic hands and arms from any major robot manufacturer, the firm said.
The order fulfillment and parcel shipping markets will be the target of the product. It will be used to help users improve processes such as package induction and singulation, the latter defined as picking up single pieces from a box, crate, or tote of multiple goods. Robotics manufacturers claim their products can help logistics providers meet rising consumer demand for shorter delivery times. They can also free workers to perform more value-added work rather than repetitive, high-volume, package sortation tasks, robotics vendors said.
A package that includes cameras, mounts and software will be flexible enough to integrate with any style of automated gripper
“3-D vision is the prime mover in this space,” Nieves said. “If you have good vision but a limited hand, you can still do some meaningful work. But if you have a great hand and no vision, you’re doing next to nothing.”
That flexibility allows the firm’s cameras and software to interface with whatever type of robot is most useful for a warehouse’s operations, whether it is a sophisticated, six-axis picking arm, a four-axis de-palletizer, or a three-axis gantry crane, Nieves said. The PickOne technology enables any of those robots to perform more efficiently, which frees managers to reassign employees to higher-value work, he said.