Coordinating Hundreds of Cooperative, Autonomous Vehicles in Warehouses

Peter R. Wurman, Raffaello D'Andrea, Mick Mountz


The Kiva warehouse-management system creates a new paradigm for pick-pack-and-ship warehouses that significantly improves worker productivity. The Kiva system uses movable storage shelves that can be lifted by small, autonomous robots. By bringing the product to the worker, productivity is increased by a factor of two or more, while simultaneously improving accountability and flexibility. A Kiva installation for a large distribution center may require 500 or more vehicles. As such, the Kiva system represents the first commercially available, large-scale autonomous robot system. The first permanent installation of a Kiva system was deployed in the summer of 2006.

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