Otto: Self driving warehouse vehicle transporting boxes.
Image: © Clearpath Robotics Inc. All rights reserved.

At this year’s Robobusiness event in San Jose, executives were thrilled with Clearpath’s introduction of OTTO: the self-driving warehouse robot. Using similar technology to Google’s self-driving car, OTTO is able to navigate complicated work scenarios without someone sitting behind the wheel.

OTTO’s capabilities include transporting heavy materials across the warehouse and assisting with assembly line delivery and tasks. OTTO is changing the landscape for manufacturers, offering them more flexibility and a cost effective alternative to otherwise difficult tasks.

Clearpath explains, “Traditional material handling systems require costly and rigid changes to infrastructure, cannot adapt to a changing environment, and are not safe for collaboration with warehouse personnel. OTTO does not rely on external infrastructure for navigation, making implementation hassle-free and highly scalable. It can transport 3,300-lb. loads at speeds up to 4.5 mph, while tracking along optimal paths and safely avoiding collisions.”

OTTO units can be found in five test facilities. This number will only increase. “North American manufacturers are constantly under pressure to find new ways to gain an edge against low-cost offshore competition. Traditional automation is saturating. But what about the more complex tasks too difficult or expensive to automate? We created OTTO to reinvent material transport and give North American manufacturers a new edge,” explains CEO and co-founder, Matt Rendhall.

GE is capitalizing on this innovation, as they recently became OTTO’s first customer. Moreover, GE has been collaborating with Clearpath since 2013 on robotic development. “We believe robotics will drastically improve the industries that GE serves,” says Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of GE Ventures. “We look forward to further partnering with Clearpath and exploring the role large-scale service robots may play for us and for our customers in the future. This Clearpath investment from GE reflects a deepening of the industrial partnership in advanced manufacturing and field service operations with self-driving vehicles and service robots.”