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Humatics launches new ‘microlocation’ platform for robots and autonomous vehicles

Humatics Corporation, a developer of “microlocation” products, has launched its Spatial Intelligence Platform.

The platform comprises radio-frequency beacons deployed in a constellation, mobile sensors, and a software suite.

Humatics says these “ultra-precise positioning products will revolutionize how robots and industrial automation equipment locate themselves, navigate through complex environments, and collaborate with people”. 

The following are the first offerings of the Humatics Spatial Intelligence Platform:

  • The KinetIQ 300 system localizes mobile objects in 2D and 3D with an industry-leading 2 cm of precision at ranges up to 500 meters.
  • The KinetIQ 100 system measures distances with 2 cm of precision at ranges up to 500 meters.
  • The KinetIQ OS is a suite of spatial intelligence software providing provisioning, monitoring, and data analytics services along with an extensible API.

The KinetIQ family of solutions premiered at the International Manufacturing Technology Show at booth #121226.

Humatics also demonstrated a pre-release version of the “groundbreaking KinetIQ 1,000 millimeter-scale system”.

The Humatics Spatial Intelligence Platform will create value across a wide variety of industrial applications, including:

  • Automated guided vehicle and mobile robot navigation
  • Industrial vehicle tracking, collision avoidance, and platooning
  • Tool tracking
  • Crane positioning
  • Drone navigation
  • Digital twin and other IIoT applications
  • Rail signaling
  • Unlocking the promise of Industry 4.0

Humatics also announced strategic partnerships, creating an ecosystem of organizations committed to the Spatial Intelligence Platform for mission-critical Industry 4.0 applications.

Eckhart, ZPMC and Balluff are among the companies representing a wide range of industrial verticals that believe Humatics’ microlocation technology will become fundamental to their business.

“We see great potential in Humatics’ microlocation technology,” says Norbert Popp, vice president of product management at Balluff, one of the world’s leading sensor manufacturers.

“The ability to precisely and wirelessly locate objects at distances beyond one meter is a difficult challenge in today’s industrial environments.

“We look forward to partnering with Humatics to solve applications in material handling and intra-logistics vehicles, including mobile robots, AGVs, lift trucks, and cranes.”

Humatics partners Eckhart and ZPMC will integrate the Spatial Intelligence Platform into their existing and future AGV systems.

“Humatics’ microlocation technology is breaking the chains that have bound the manufacturing industry and limited its breadth of potential applications,” says Andy Storm, CEO of Eckhart, a systems integrator for advanced manufacturing solutions.

“Our partnership with Humatics is essential to accelerating the vision of Industry 4.0 for our customers as well as our AutoCraft brand of AGVs.”

Haisheng Yang, general manager of the Smart Solutions Group at ZPMC, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cranes and heavy-duty equipment, says: “We are currently working with the Humatics KinetIQ 300 solution.

“Its high precision and performance capability in all weather conditions have immense potential to bring new levels of automation and efficiency to ZPMC’s container shipping equipment and services worldwide.”

AGVs and mobile robots are essential to the Industry 4.0 ideal of smart, flexible factories and logistics centers, and the market is growing rapidly.

However, deficiencies in existing navigation technologies limit today’s benefits. Magnetic tape and fiducial-based systems are inflexible and damage-prone, while LiDAR systems are expensive and restricted to indoor, structured environments.

Humatics says its Spatial Intelligence Platform overcomes these challenges with three major advancements to the industry.

  1. First, it enables effortless route changes without remapping or infrastructure adjustments.
  2. Next, it works in both indoor and outdoor environments, robust to all weather conditions.
  3. Finally, it allows for navigation in open and constantly-changing environments where vision systems degrade.

These announcements lead numerous advances marking Humatics’ continued upward trajectory.

The company has increased revenue year over year and made key additions to the leadership team, with a total staff of over 60 employees and a presence in Boston, Huntsville, Alabama, and the Bay Area.

Additionally, Humatics is moving its headquarters in November 2018 to Waltham, MA, to accommodate its rapid growth.

David Mindell, Humatics co-founder and chief executive officer, says: “Microlocation will transform the industrial automation and manufacturing industries.

“The commercial launch and technological breakthroughs advance our vision for revolutionizing the way people and machines locate, navigate and collaborate.”

The company will ship the KinetIQ 100 in Q4 this year with global availability. The KinetIQ 300 and KinetIQ OS are expected to ship in early 2019 in North America, with additional geographies becoming available during the following months.