Introduction: In the ever-evolving landscape of supply chain technology, humanoid robots are emerging as a groundbreaking solution. With advancements in AI, immersive tech, AMR, and more, the race to develop functional and commercially viable humanoid robots is heating up. This article aims to provide an overview of the progress made in this field, highlighting key players and their contributions.
Prominent Humanoid Robots in Development: Several organizations and teams are actively working on humanoid robot projects. Here are some notable examples:
Figure 01 (Figure AI Inc.): Claimed as the world's first commercially viable general-purpose humanoid robot, Figure 01 by Figure AI Inc. is generating significant buzz. With an experienced engineering team and a pragmatic approach, Figure AI is expected to launch its groundbreaking product in late 2023.
4NE-1 (ZEURA Robotics): ZEURA Robotics is developing 4NE-1, a humanoid robot designed to address workforce challenges and enhance supply chain workflows. With a focus on safety and performance, ZEURA Robotics aims to provide a versatile solution for various industries.
Atlas (Boston Dynamics): Atlas, developed by Boston Dynamics, is one of the most renowned humanoid robots. While it remains an R&D project with no immediate plans for commercialization, Atlas has showcased exceptional mobility and capabilities in various videos.
Optimus (Tesla): Tesla surprised the industry with Optimus, its humanoid robot prototype. Although commercial availability may not be expected until 2027, Tesla's in-house collaboration with its automotive production team positions Optimus for deployment within Tesla facilities.
CyberOne (Xiaomi): Xiaomi, a leading smartphone manufacturer, is teasing its humanoid robot, CyberOne. While details are limited, CyberOne's simplified yet robust hand design suggests suitability for high-end consumer applications.
Phoenix (Sanctuary AI): Sanctuary AI's Phoenix series has been evolving, with the soon-to-be-released sixth generation being its first true humanoid with bipedal motion. Sanctuary AI aims to deploy Phoenix in work environments without requiring extensive modifications.
Apollo (Apptronik): Apptronik is preparing to release Apollo, a completely new humanoid exoskeleton with bipedal motion capabilities. Apollo features a novel actuator design and advanced kinematics developed through the company's experience in developing exoskeletons for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Pepper (SoftBank Robotics): SoftBank Robotics' humanoid robot, Pepper, is designed to interact with humans in various settings. While primarily used in customer service and hospitality, Pepper's adaptable design allows for integration into supply chain workflows.
The Significance for Supply Chain: Humanoid robots hold immense potential for revolutionizing supply chain operations. By addressing workforce shortages, tackling unsafe tasks, and enhancing efficiency, these robots can redefine workflows. Implementing humanoid robots within supply chains can streamline processes, increase productivity, and minimize human error.
Considerations and Future Outlook: While humanoid robots present exciting opportunities, certain challenges must be addressed. Containing system costs, ensuring safety in human-robot interactions, and defining predictable failure modes are critical factors to consider. The legged robotics subcommittee by ASTM International is actively working on establishing standards to mitigate these challenges.
Conclusion: As the race to develop functional humanoid robots intensifies, the supply chain industry stands to benefit greatly from their integration. These robots have the potential to reshape supply chain operations, improving efficiency and addressing labor challenges. As companies plan their next level of supply chain operations, exploring the potential of humanoid robots becomes crucial. Stay tuned for the upcoming progress in this fascinating field.
To gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of humanoid robots, we recommend also watching CNET Highlights' informative overview: https://youtu.be/DAvZ4vo5qfY
Moreover, have a look at this chart provided by visual capitalist: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/robots-cotw.jpg