Autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, are often touted for their flexibility because they do not require custom infrastructure, beacons, or tracks to follow routes. They typically operate by running pre-programmed routes which can be trained through a variety of navigation methods. The quickest and simplest way to get AMRs up and running is through a “Teach & Repeat” methodology. This approach, available exclusively through BrainOS®-enabled robotic applications (scrubbers, scanners, and delivery tugs), involves a human operator first driving a machine on its cleaning route, allowing the machine to form a “memory” of the path, which are then stored within the robot and made available as pre-programmed routes. This enables the robot to operate safely and autonomously, starting from a designated “home marker” wherever the scrubber is deployed (retail and grocery, airports, malls, campuses).
The Teach & Repeat methodology for managing robotic applications offers three key benefits for end customers, including 1) ease of training for new operators, 2) quick route setting and resetting, and 3) operational flexibility.
1. Quickly Train New Operators
When considering implementing a robotic automation program, operations and facilities management executives often worry that they will have to hire specialized technicians to train and operate robots. For robots that leverage the Teach & Repeat methodology, literally any employee can become a robot operator, regardless of their technical backgrounds. Not only does this relieve employers of the stress of finding technical workers, but it also gives current employees a valuable new skill and responsibility, increasing job satisfaction.
Some robotic applications can take weeks or even months to implement, due to the difficulty of training, so the benefit of training operators in less than one day creates a significant impact on ROI. Other robot route training methods can require specialized skills or costly professional service engagements. With robots that use the Teach & Repeat methodology, such as those enabled by BrainOS, employees can become robot operators within one day and can easily change routes on the fly. The sooner that employees can begin operating robots, the sooner they will return a positive financial return on investment (ROI).
2. Easily Create New Routes
Robots that require technical assistance for route mapping are not well-suited for businesses that often change their floor layouts, such as retail and grocery stores, or warehouses. With Teach & Repeat, robot operators can quickly hop on their robots (in the case of a ride-on scrubber, for example) and map out a new route that can be leveraged right away. Waiting for engineers or other technology experts to come out to a site to map a new route can take weeks, causing robots to sit and collect dust in the meantime. For example, if a grocery store were to take down a promotional display, or rearrange its produce section, it can use the Teach and Repeat approach to train the robotic application on the new route, and have it up and running within the same morning or afternoon. This benefit helps keep stores operating efficiently while making the most of a robotics program.
3. Align Routes with Operational Needs
For dynamic public environments, it is critical to have flexibility when running AMR routes. If a certain grocery aisle is being restocked at a certain time, for example, a robot operator can use Teach and Repeat to easily select a route or sequence of routes that avoid those sections while tending to others in the store. The ability to select an individual route or multiple consecutive routes provides operators with the ability to make decisions based on operational needs on any given day.
For AMRs that use other mapping systems, it can be difficult to pause routes and give robots attention or assistance. Oftentimes, when these robots need more fluid for cleaning, an object removed from their path, or, routes have to be completely restarted, wasting valuable time. With Teach & Repeat, a robot can receive attention in the middle of a route, and pick up where it left off.
Beyond the Technology
Teach & Repeat methodology is designed to make the implementation and operation of AMRs in commercial settings faster, easier and less frustrating than complex mapping systems. This not only financially benefits the business executives or business owners that choose to invest in robotics but also benefits store or warehouse managers and robot operator employees, by making their jobs easier and more efficient.
The methodology makes it possible for individuals with any level of technical background to become proficient in operating and training AMRs within as little as a few hours. This not only saves businesses time during the training process, compared to other robotic programs that are complicated and take weeks to onboard employees but also enables staff to be more efficient and productive moving forward. Creating new routes with Teach & Repeat is as simple as manually driving a robot through its new path and returning it to the home marker, requiring no outside technical assistance or complicated digital mapping. Investing in robots that use this methodology means that robots can perform tasks in dynamic environments, allowing businesses to continue operation and avoid downtime, thus achieving faster ROI.
Brain Corp offers Teach & Repeat technology through its pioneering robotic software platform, BrainOS, which currently powers the largest fleet of AMRs operating in dynamic public environments.