9 Nov - 2018
Ahold Delhaize is set to join forces with Delft University of Technology, RoboValley
and YES!Delft to explore new robotics applications in the retail sector.
The work will be based at the AI for Retail (AIR)Lab Delft. The
partnership will consist of a research programme into solutions for the
entire retail chain, from warehouse and store through to the customer.
There will also be a test site in RoboValley, where researchers will be
able to build and test robot prototypes with partners, students and
start-ups. The test site is expected to open at the start of 2019.
At Delft University of Technology, researchers are working on a new generation of robots that they are teaching to deal with the unpredictability of the ‘real world’. Having robots and humans collaborate effectively and safely in an unstructured environment involves major challenges. These robots will bring together many different scientific and academic disciplines, including mechatronics, control and artificial intelligence, as well as human-machine interaction, ethics and safety technology.
"This collaboration with Ahold Delhaize allows us to solve real-world challenges by focusing on fundamental issues in robotics"
Professor Martijn Wisse, Director of the TU Delft Robotics Institute, and Supervisor of AIRLab Delft, 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. We are very excited.”
"Working together with academic partners such as Delft University of Technology will enable Ahold Delhaize and AIRLab to shape a technology-driven world in a responsible way"
Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “The rapid advancements in AI and robotics provide us with significant opportunities to make everyday shopping even easier for our customers and develop new solutions for our warehouses and last-mile delivery. Working together with academic partners such as Delft University of Technology will enable Ahold Delhaize and AIRLab to shape a technology-driven world in a responsible way. It helps us become a frontrunner in AI research and development for retail and ultimately build capabilities that are scalable for the group.”
The AI for Retail (AIR)Lab is part of ICAI – an open alliance of knowledge institutions focusing on AI innovation by means of public-private partnerships, based at Amsterdam Science Park. ICAI is built around industry labs: long-term alliances between academic and industrial partners focusing on technology and talent development. In addition to AIRLab Amsterdam for research into socially-responsible algorithms and transparent AI technology, Delft will now have its own AIRLab in the field of robotics.