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ARTIC Rack Cleaning Robot

Warehouse racking systems are an essential part of storage businesses, and cleaning under these racks is essential to maintain the health of workers, sustain the quality of products stored in the racks, and to enhance automation and economic productivity.

The limited space under the racks (~20cm height) pose accessibility challenges for human workers attempting to clean the area. Although automated systems based on robots provide an appealing alternative, and the global market for cleaning robots is projected to increase from $7B in 2020 to $38B by 2028, commercial/industrial cleaning robots do not fit well under the racks, find it difficult to clean the underside of racks, lack the necessary battery or bin capacity, or are unable to reliably navigate to and recognise different types of debris.

The ARTIC robot is a game-changing, disruptive, industry-academia collaboration to address these limitations. We do so by introducing state of the art innovations in the hardware and software components of the proposed system. Specifically, ARTIC, our proposed novel robot platform is designed to easily pass under the warehouse racks while still providing a larger battery capacity and (vacuum) storage capacity than existing competing platforms. The robot is also equipped with an innovative brush and vacuum arrangement to access and clean all relevant surfaces under the rack.

In parallel to the hardware innovations, we have implemented state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence methods for reliable and computationally efficient semantic mapping, localisation, and debris recognition in large (100,000 sq.ft) warehouses. This will enable the robot to create an information-rich map of the area underneath the rack, and navigate accurately in large areas, by exploiting the complementary features of different noisy sensors (e.g., LIDAR, RGB-D cameras).

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