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FedEx is using ‘first-of-its-kind’ AI-powered robots to load boxes onto trailers

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FedEx is partnering with a California artificial intelligence (AI) company to test the use of smart robots for loading boxes into trailers.

In a September 26 announcement, Redwood City, California-based Dexterity AI announced a new collaboration with FedEx to use mobile, AI-equipped robots to take over manual truck loading duties.

Dexterity AI  says that the “DexR” robots are able to “see, touch, think, and move quickly to pack trailers with stable, dense walls of randomized boxes.” The DexR is able to manually navigate towards the rear of a trailer and then connects to a conveyor belt that feeds the robot boxes from the sortation system.

Check out video of the robot in action loading boxes below.

The company highlighted the following features of the truck-loading AI platform:

  • Generative Wall Planning: With every new box presented to the DexR, Dexterity’s AI software takes 500 milliseconds or less to assess billions of wall build possibilities to pack trailers with tight, stable walls.
  • A Sense of Touch: Dexterity AI-powered force control gives robots a unique sense of touch so they know how to gently nudge boxes together in creating tightly packed walls. 
  • Machine Learning-Based Pack Improvement: Machine learning helps ensure that with every box picked, the Dexterity AI truck loading software becomes even more efficient in handling a broader range of packing challenges.
  • Integrated Motion Planning: By integrating its own trajectory and motion planning, the Dexterity AI platform helps the DexR’s two arms move quickly inside trailers without colliding with each other or the truck walls.

“Our culture of innovation is driven by a desire to help our team members and customers succeed,” said Rebecca Yeung, corporate vice president of Operations Science and Advanced Technologies for FedEx. “Based on feedback from our operations team, we have been looking for a solution that helps alleviate the challenges of truck loading. Collaborating with Dexterity AI to combine the latest in AI and robotics supports our operations team while meeting growing customer demand.”

“FedEx shares our belief that innovation should solve the most difficult tasks in operations,” said Samir Menon, founder and CEO of Dexterity AI. “Our collaboration is driven by a vision of AI-powered robotics that is adaptable to our customer’s most pressing needs.” 

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