Intelligent Forklifts – Are They Too Smart?

The “Internet of Things,” in which all objects will be connected via sensors to a broad digital system, is still in its infancy. While robotic vacuum cleaners and exercise-monitoring clothes are fairly common, such things as self-driving cars are not quite rush-hour ready. However, RFID and on-board intelligence are being successfully combined to create intelligent forklifts for materials handling systems: Proponents point to cost savings gained through improved safety, greater efficiency, and better inventory control.

Those of the Luddite persuasion, though, envision robots running amok through warehouses, ignoring RFID signals, destroying products and threatening the lives of their human bosses. But automation systems failures can usually be traced to human user error, or, more important, a poor choice of automation vendor. Cutting corners never pays, especially when it’s your inventory at stake. Thoroughly vet your vendors, and your warehouse won’t end up like “I, Robot.”

Now how do I program my vacuum cleaner to do the stairs…?


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Photo © JRB –