MiR Launches Autonomous Pallet Jack


THE ROBOT REPORT - March 19, 2024

Autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, are among the systems benefitting from the latest advances in artificial intelligence. Mobile Industrial Robots A/S today at LogiMAT launched the MiR1200 Pallet Jack, which it said uses 3D vision and AI to identify pallets for pickup and delivery “with unprecedented precision.”

“The MiR1200 Pallet Jack is our latest effort to push the boundaries in autonomous material handling,” stated Mads Paulin, vice president of research and development at MiR. “We believe that the built-in AI detection system is a significant improvement over older detection technologies.”

“Our approach will reduce pick-and-place cycle times, deliver best-in-class pick accuracy, and allow us to continuously deliver advanced, AI-based functionality and value to our customers,” he claimed. Why now for the MiR1200 Pallet Jack? With numerous other AMRs, autonomous forklifts, and semi-autonomous pallet jacks already on the market, why did Mobile Industrial Robots decide to develop one now? “We announced our intention to create an autonomous pallet jack in 2021,” said Kevin Dumas, vice president of product at the Odense, Denmark-based company. “In this case, being a fast follower is a good strategy.”

“Lots of products on the market use 2D lidar but require pallets in very good condition,” he told Mobile Robot Guide at the R-24 conference in Odense, Denmark. “If you look at pallet jacks built by other companies, they’re focused on building robots first. We expect to run for a long time in many environments, so we built a robust truck.”

“While AMRs already use machine learning for obstacle detection and avoidance, they didn’t need large language models [LLMs],” added Ujjwal Kumar, group president at Teradyne Robotics. “But autonomous pallet jacks must recognize real pallets that are often damaged, painted, or covered in shrink wrap. They needed to get smarter to detect them.” AMR uses AutoGuide tech, addresses labor shortages Teradyne is also applying technology from AutoGuide Mobile Robots, which it acquired in 2019 and combined with the MiR brand in 2022. Teradyne had acquired Mobile Industrial Robots in 2022. “We took the team and technology from AutoGuide but didn’t want to build a standalone pallet jack,” said Kumar, who will deliver a keynote at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston in May. “We had the AMR experience of MiR and could focus on pallet detection.”

The MiR1200 Pallet Jack’s 3D vision addresses labor-intensive materials handling, The new robot can dynamically modify its route to avoid obstacles such as loose objects on the floor or overhead obstacles. Mobile Industrial Robots added that its new pallet jack can navigate in tight spaces with minimal changes to the existing infrastructure, making it suitable for optimizing logistics efficiency. Palletizing is a more straightforward workflow to automate than each picking, Dumas said.

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