Croatian Post pilots Gideon Brothers’ robots

December 20, 2019

Highlights:

  • The largest Croatian postal operator deploys pallet-carrier robots in their new sorting and logistics center in Zagreb as part of a four month pilot project.
  • The robots will speed picking and transport at the high-rack facility and, in the sorting area, transport incoming mail from vehicles to processing locations.
  • Gideon Brothers is a robotics and AI startup that has so far raised nearly €5 million in investments.
  • The company’s clients include logistics, manufacturing and retail multinationals, including the global logistics leader DB Schenker.

 

Hrvatska Pošta (Croatian Post) introduced Gideon Brothers’ pallet-carrying autonomous mobile robots to their new sorting center outside of Zagreb. The pilot strongly supports the growth of the company’s core business, as the central pillar of their „Post 2022” strategy. By introducing robots into their operations, Croatian Post is following Industry 4.0 trends by connecting digital and internet-based systems to establish communication between machines, people, and product and business systems. 

Robotic systems reduce the costs of providing services, shorten the service cycle, and increase efficiency. Robots do not replace humans; they are their tools and help achieve goals that would have been impossible to imagine earlier. This principle is what guides the Croatian robotics and AI company Gideon Brothers. Along with a great business solution, this principle was also what guided Croatian Post’s decision to launch a pilot project using autonomous pallet-carrier robots in their new sorting center.

The pilot project will be implemented over the next four months in the high-rack warehouse and the sorting facility. Employees who will work with the robots will be trained during this period. In Croatian Post’s warehouse, the robots will assist with the picking and transport of mail, and in the sorting facility, will transport mail from vehicles to processing locations that prepare mail and packages for delivery. 

The self-driving logistics robots can carry loads of up 800 kilograms, and they can safely maneuver around people, equipment and other moving machines. Its autonomy technology is based on visual perception that combines deep learning (AI) with stereoscopic cameras to create a new generation of robotic vision. 

The Croatian Post sees this project as a sign that it’s open to new opportunities brought by technology that can provide a competitive advantage. The company is state-owned, but it competes in a liberalized market. It is the largest postal services operator in Croatia, with an 80% share of the market, but they also offer a variety of financial and other services. The company has an annual revenue of 1.72 billion kuna (over €230 million), employs over 10 thousand persons, and operates over a thousand post offices. Their employees cover some 45 million km annually. In September 2019, the company opened a new sorting and logistics center near Zagreb, and in November they acquired Locodels, a local sharing economy-based startup for city delivery service. 

Gideon Brothers is a robotics and AI start-up that was founded in 2017 and its 70-person team  includes 10 PhDs and over 40 Masters of robotics hardware and AI software.  The company has received several awards, including the prestigious AI Rising Stars award at the 12th annual Founders Forum in London (June 2018) and Best World Mobility and Logistics Startup at Start.up! Germany (October 2018).

Currently, Gideon Brothers has multiple ongoing pilot projects with international logistics and distribution companies whose total revenue is approximately €20 billion and who employ 94,000 workers. Clients include DB Schenker, the global logistics giant.

 

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Why vision is better than LiDAR

Gideon Brothers autonomy technology achieves breakthrough performance because it is based on visual perception, relying on stereoscopic cameras and AI (deep learning) to understand its environment fully. This overview (short and non-technical) explains how advanced visual perception autonomy works and why the potential is so high for this new exciting tech.

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