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Opteran mind brings "natural intelligence" to SAFELOG mobile robots

Opteran Technologies has struck a major partnership deal to deploy its breakthrough insect-inspired autonomy technology in mobile robots for warehouses and industrial facilities. The UK-based company announced this week it has signed a multi-year agreement with German robotics manufacturer SAFELOG GmbH to integrate its Opteran Mind software into SAFELOG's order-picking and transportation robots.

The partnership aims to address persistent autonomy and localization challenges plaguing mobile robot fleets operating in dynamic, harsh environments like warehouses and factories. Opteran's unique "natural intelligence" approach, modeled after insect brain algorithms, promises to enable SAFELOG's robots to robustly navigate without supporting infrastructure like QR codes or reflectors.

"We are seeing a rapid take up of our technology across the U.S., Japan, and Europe, so today's agreement with SAFELOG underlines why our technology is best in class for localization and mapping for mobile robots," stated David Rajan, co-founder and CEO of Opteran Technologies. "It also shows that while 'natural intelligence' is unique in the market, our inputs and outputs are standard, making Opteran Mind a simple and attractive solution to integrate with existing mobile robots."

For SAFELOG, a key driver behind the collaboration is boosting the productivity and reliability of its autonomous mobile robot (AMR) fleets. The company develops robust order-picking AMRs but has faced limitations with existing autonomy stacks like 2D lidar, 3D lidar, and visual SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping). Localization errors frequently cause robot downtime and failures.

"There are a lot of challenges for existing autonomy solutions to overcome in the complex conditions of a warehouse, so we have been amazed by what Opteran Mind can achieve," said Michael Reicheicher, Managing Director of SAFELOG. "Opteran's technology performs significantly better in our mobile robots, which will be hugely beneficial for our customers. Natural Intelligence offers a robust technology that we are confident will differentiate our AMRs in the global market."

Opteran Mind is the result of over 10 years of research by the company's founders into the intricate processes of insect brains. The system "reverse-engineers" algorithms that allow insects to navigate smoothly and efficiently in nature using just light-sensing eyes and powerful neural computing.

By replicating these biological algorithms as an AI model, Opteran says its technology delivers a "dramatic breakthrough" in robot autonomy compared to conventional vision-based approaches. It allows AMRs to handle highly dynamic environments with ever-changing obstacles, dusty conditions, and variances in lighting - all without supporting sensors or infrastructure like GPS.

"Fundamentally, nature does navigation more efficiently than robots," Opteran stated. The company estimates its low-cost, low-power insect brain model running on ARM chips could enable navigation at just $160 per robot, compared to $8,400-$27,000 for traditional 2D/3D lidar setups.

Opteran and SAFELOG demonstrated their integrated robotic solution at this week's LogiMAT trade show in Stuttgart, Germany. Showgoers witnessed a SAFELOG AMR using Opteran Mind to intelligently navigate and adapt to evolving conditions in real-time.

The natural intelligence software can be embedded into ground robots as well as drones for applications spanning logistics, inspection, mining, autonomous vehicles, and more. As AMRs become vital productivity engines across industries, Opteran's biomimetic technology could be the key to unlashing their true potential in complex real-world settings.

"We are delighted to announce our partnership with SAFELOG, as this is another significant milestone on our path to commercializing Opteran Mind," said Rajan. "It also shows that while 'natural intelligence' is unique in the market, our inputs and outputs are standard, making Opteran Mind a simple and attractive solution to integrate with existing mobile robots."

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