Executive Briefings

Online Grocer Ocado Uses 4G to Communicate With Warehouse Bots

Ocado, an online-only grocer and retail solution provider, has developed a 4G-based protocol to communicate with the thousands of robots powering its new automated warehouses. These highly-automated warehouses will be offered as part of a managed service called the Ocado Smart Platform which enables international partners to build scalable, sustainable and profitable online retail businesses, the company says.

Online Grocer Ocado Uses 4G to Communicate With Warehouse Bots

The protocol marks the first deployment to use the unlicensed 4G spectrum for warehouse automation and proviodes a connection 10 times per second to each of the 1,000-plus robots roaming around the warehouse - all working within a 150 meter radius.

"While building a robot can be a relatively straightforward task, creating a swarm of thousands of robots and making sure you can communicate with every single in a tenth of a second is a whole different ballgame," said Adam Green, Ocado’s wireless team leader. "We have worked closely with Cambridge Consultants to develop an innovative system that takes advantage of modern wireless communications principles but has secret ingredients that tailor it to our specific environment. Since the protocol works in the license-free spectrum, we can also deploy it at a moment's notice in any location around the world."

In addition, the wireless protocol can be repurposed for other IoT applications that mandate reduced communications delay between devices.

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The protocol marks the first deployment to use the unlicensed 4G spectrum for warehouse automation and proviodes a connection 10 times per second to each of the 1,000-plus robots roaming around the warehouse - all working within a 150 meter radius.

"While building a robot can be a relatively straightforward task, creating a swarm of thousands of robots and making sure you can communicate with every single in a tenth of a second is a whole different ballgame," said Adam Green, Ocado’s wireless team leader. "We have worked closely with Cambridge Consultants to develop an innovative system that takes advantage of modern wireless communications principles but has secret ingredients that tailor it to our specific environment. Since the protocol works in the license-free spectrum, we can also deploy it at a moment's notice in any location around the world."

In addition, the wireless protocol can be repurposed for other IoT applications that mandate reduced communications delay between devices.

Read Full Article

Online Grocer Ocado Uses 4G to Communicate With Warehouse Bots