Belgium-based food retailer Ahold Delhaize has partnered with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) to expand its artificial intelligence for retail lab (AIRLab) in the Netherlands.
As part of the deal, AIRLab Delft will focus on driving innovations for daily business as well as gain knowledge into the integration among retail, AI and robotics.
The partnership will start a robotics research programme and establish a test site that focusses on advanced innovations in the retail industry.
TU Delft Robotics Institute director Martijn Wisse said: “At AIRLab Delft, scientists will study how employees can teach their robots to do repetitive tasks, or develop methods to optimise the motion and coordination of mobile robots and of delivery vehicles.
“This collaboration with Ahold Delhaize allows us to solve real-world challenges by focusing on fundamental issues in robotics, such as how to learn and safely execute tasks in the context of uncertainty, how to safely navigate and interact in environments shared with humans, and how to efficiently and effectively plan the routes of fleets of last-mile delivery.”
In addition, TU Delft Robotics Institute’s research centre RoboValley will house a team of international researchers who will focus on exploring the use of robotic solutions across the retail supply chain including warehouses and stores.
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Ahold Delhaize will unveil a new test site enabling researchers to work with partners, students and start-ups to build and test prototypes of robotic solutions, which will be supported by TU Delft’s technology incubator, YES!Delft.
The test facility will focus on exploring how to deploy robotics in a retail setting, how to handle delicate items such as fruits and vegetables using robotic grippers, or how to enhance image-recognition of products and packaging. It will be operational in early 2019.