Real-Time Hazard Detection
via Machine Vision for Retail Robots
In 2017, when a Fortune 200 company was faced with a challenge of finding a hazard detection solution for its new line of retail robots, they were referred to Volo. Given that there was no such solution available in the market at the time, the company needed to make sure that their new tech partner would have the needed capacity and experience to handle a project that was complex and research intensive. While their senior management was in Armenia with the purpose of getting acquainted with Volo to discuss a possible partnership, they shared their concerns regarding an issue they were experiencing with their line of retail robots. Having assessed Volo’s previous experience with image processing solutions, all their lingering doubts were put to rest. With deadlines pending, they turned to us for help.
Today’s fast-paced retail environment demands that companies invest in solutions that speed up their services and respond quickly to issues that impact their customers. One such issue is quickly detecting spills, trash, and hazards in retail stores and notifying staff to promptly take care of it. Our partner company was a provider of retail store maintenance robots. In the testing stage, they learned that their robots were experiencing issues in recognizing smaller objects (under 2 cm in height) and transparent fluids. While the robots were equipped with monocular vision to collect and sort hazard information, they weren’t able to identify and bypass these particularly challenging objects, which often resulted in their malfunction. I.e., robots would often get stuck in sticky fluids like honey, oil, etc.
Having tried and tested the abovementioned three approaches, we came to the conclusion that our image recognition algorithm was best suited for this particular robot hardware. We are in the constant process of tuning our algorithms, and in case of having a robot with more advanced hardware, we would be able to combine all three algorithms, which would result in very high accuracy.
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