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Ocado develops 4G-based protocol to communicate with robots powering its warehouses

Ocado has revealed more information about the 4G-based wireless protocol used to control the robots powering its new warehouses.

FOOD & DRINK

Ocado develops 4G-based protocol to communicate with robots powering its warehouses

Ocado has revealed more information about the 4G-based wireless protocol used to control the robots powering its new warehouses.

The online supermarket said the protocol marks the first deployment anywhere in the world to use the unlicensed 4G spectrum for warehouse automation and guarantees a connection ten times per second to each of the 1,000+ robots roaming around the warehouse - all working within a 150 metre radius.

Adam Green, wireless team leader at Ocado, said: “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 ball game.

“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.”

Ocado said the wireless protocol can be repurposed for other IoT applications that mandate reduced communications delay between many devices including vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity for smart cars, air traffic control systems or large scale industrial systems.

The automated warehouses are being offered to international partners as part of a managed service called the Ocado Smart Platform.

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