Ocado has a 350,000 square foot warehouse in Dorden, UK that is operated by machines, robots, and artificial intelligence. It’s more automated than Amazon’s warehouse facilities. Ocado has 48,000 lines of goods and much of it is perishable. Many of the items have to be chilled or frozen and delivered on the same day it arrives at the warehouse. To maintain a safe food supply, the warehouse has to be state-of-the-art. It also has to be efficient enough to make a profit.
Baggers wait for large plastic crates to fill orders and pack them afterward by hand. There’s 30 kilometers of conveyor belts at the Dorden warehouse. Algorithms determine the optimum storage plan, placing popular items within the reach of employees. The packages are loaded onto trucks and transferred to vans, which make the final delivery at the customer’s home.
Ocado is opening a third warehouse in Andover. It will have 1,000 robots moving around a football-sized floor. The robots move at a speed of 9 mph and pass each other within a few centimeters. Everything is run over a 4G network. The Andover facility is a precursor to a larger warehouse scheduled for construction next year in Erith.
Source: Technology Review