Robots are accredited to increase efficiency in some cases of industrial use. But, as a large UK drug service has just discovered, this does not mean that they are not accidents like humans. Ocado – who competes with Amazon Fresh – has been forced to cancel orders for some customers after a robot collision sparked a fire in its store in south-east London. The incident appeared to involve three bots on the network and led to the evacuation of its customer compliance center Erith, the company. he said.
Ocado revealed that the fire triggered the site’s sprinkler system, but was contained by its mitigation measures. However, the London Fire Brigade was called to the scene to deal with the fire, the company added. Overall, Ocado said the damage was limited to only 1 percent of its network, adding that it would take a week for the facility to resume operations.
The British company’s south-east London warehouse contains 3,000 robots that move at 13 feet per second when taking food orders. Ocado also licenses its automation platform to other companies Kroger in the United States, which recently developed the system at its 375,000-square-foot customer service center in Monroe, Ohio.
Based on the proximity of the droids and the rapid nature of their task, it is a miracle that no more encounters were made. As detailed in a recent post CNN report, the bots – described as “wheel washers” – move five millimeters apart on a network-like system to collect objects. Ocado also told the news release “basically we’re playing chicken with them: they’re going on a collision course just to get away at the last minute.”
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