Carry out logistic inventories using a drone, to avoid the use of cherry pickers: that’s Eyesee’s goal. Having obtained a patent, the solution is now entering a semi-industrial phase. It will be presented at CES Unveiled Las Vegas 2018.

Hardis announces that its Eyesee solution to automate logistics inventories with the help of a drone and a tablet application has been recognized as an Innovation Award Honoree at CES 2018. Over the last 18 months, the solution has undergone significant development, thanks to tests carried out in the warehouses of FM Logistic, an international leader in storage, transportation and packaging, and in collaboration with Squadrone System, a company specializing in unmanned drones and known for its Hexo+ product which is available to the general public, to develop a model specifically designed for logistics inventories. It will be presented at CES Unveiled Las Vegas on January 7, 2018 and will also be on show at the CES event at stand 51051, Hall G in Eureka Park.

Eyesee: automating and securing logistics inventories

In warehouses, inventories require significant human and material resources. They involve renting cherry pickers and stopping operations to allow operators to scan all the components which make up the stock, one by one: pallets, boxes, items. Bearing these constraints in mind, Hardis Group has designed Eyesee, a comprehensive drone inventory solution, which includes a drone capable of unmanned flight and equipped with a system to automatically capture and identify barcode data, a business application for tablets to automatically monitor flights and captured data, along with a back office application using Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing for administration, configuration and simple integration with all the WMS and ERP on the market.

The principle is simple: at the entrance to each aisle, the operator drops off the drone, which starts the inventory according to a flight plan, predefined via the application. The agent can see the captured data on the tablet in real time and can interact with the drone via the application, if necessary - for example, if it cannot find the code to scan. Simple to implement, with no need to adapt infrastructure, Eyesee is five times faster when compared to inventories carried out with cherry pickers. Above all, it reduces the risks and the difficulties involved in inventories.

Two years of research and development

Hundreds of hours of flight in various FM Logistic warehouses have led to the creation of a preproduction model. Today, the Eyesee drone has a quadcopter design. It incorporates new indoor localization technology, a high-performance scanning system and an HD camera. It is equipped with protective foam to protect its propellers and on-board equipment. In terms of security, the drone is equipped with a 360° anti-collision system. It automatically interrupts its flight if it detects obstacles in its path, if one of its geolocation sensors is faulty or if Wi-Fi communication is cut off with the tablet. The tablet application to monitor flights and the back office application have also undergone various changes in the last 18 months, following feedback from FM Logistic's teams. "The tests helped to develop the solution, to measure performances and to ensure that the solution would be accepted by operators", explains Stéphane Cadenet, the inventor and head of the program.

Today, this model has been recognized as an Innovation Award Honoree at CES 2018. "Since we filed the patent, which we have now obtained, Eyesee has received a very positive reception from the market. We receive several requests for information every week from logistics specialists across the globe", says Jean-Yves Costa, Assistant Director of Logistics Solutions at Hardis Group.

Over the next few months, FM Logistic, as a first-tier partner, will roll out a first series in Europe, while other pilot schemes will begin with Hardis Group's other European customers.

For more information about Eyesee.