Robots are credited with boosting efficiency in some cases of industrial use. But, as the main British food service just discovered, that doesn’t mean they are no prone to accidents like people. Ocado – which competes with Amazon Fresh – has been forced to cancel orders for some customers after a robot crash sparked a fire at its warehouse in south-east London. Three online bots appear to have been involved in the incident and led to the evacuation of his Erith customer service center, he said.
Ocado revealed that the fire started the sprinkler system at the location, but that it was suppressed by its mitigation measures. Nonetheless, the London Fire Brigade was called to the scene to deal with the fire, the company added. Overall, Ocado said the damage is limited to just 1 percent of the network, adding that it will take a week for the plant to start operating.
The British company’s warehouse in south-east London contains 3,000 robots that move at a speed of 13 feet per second when picking up food orders. Ocado also licenses its automation platform to others, including Kroger in the U.S., which recently developed a system at its 375,000-square-foot customer center in Monroe, Ohio.
Based on the proximity of the droids and the fast nature of their task, it is a miracle that no more conflicts occurred. As described in detail recently CNN The bots – described as “wheeled washing machines” – are reported to move within five millimeters of each other on a networked item collection system. Ocado even told a newspaper publication “we basically play chicken with them: they go on a collision course just to turn around at the last minute.”
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