Full-stack, hardware-agnostic robotics

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Dexterity robots can pick and pack items. (Dexterity image)

REDWOOD CITY, California – Dexterity has announced availability of its full-stack, hardware-agnostic robotic systems.

The robots automate repetitive pick-pack tasks and can handle complex manipulations in unpredictable environments, allowing warehouse employees to focus on higher-level cognitive work. The robots utilize artificial intelligence, advanced control theory, computer vision, and the sense of touch to adapt quickly, making them safe to work alongside humans.

Initial customers include Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a global food manufacturer and distributor, and a worldwide package delivery provider.

Dexterity robots are presently picking more than 200 unique items in production with 99.5 percent accuracy, and reliably pick a wide variety of novel objects including plastic bags, glass, perishables, and low-profile items.

Dexterity robots can move, pack items using the sense of touch, and work collaboratively with one another. For instance, two robots can collaborate to pick trays or crates, and even collaboratively move them across the work-area if required. Finally, the robots operate safely in concert with humans and maximize human productivity.

“While robots are the backbone of manufacturing, they have historically lacked the ability to adapt and operate in dynamic environments like warehouses,” said Dexterity founder and CEO Samir Menon. “Dexterity’s intelligent robots constantly adapt to warehouse operations and do the tedious and strenuous tasks, which maximizes productivity by enabling humans to focus on meaningful work.”

Founded in 2017, Dexterity’s technical approach has Menon’s Ph.D. thesis in Robotics from Stanford University at heart. Menon worked on a control theory framework to describe how the human brain controls and coordinates the body, which serves as a model to distill human skill into mathematical programs that control robots in a graceful human-like manner.

To date, Dexterity has raised US$56.2 million, including venture investments and debt from Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Obvious Ventures, Pacific West Bank, B37 Ventures, Presidio (Sumitomo) Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Stanford StartX.

“Technically, Dexterity’s robotic solution can do what their predecessors could not. Their robot’s ability to learn as it picks, packs, and places novel objects is unsurpassed,” said Wen Hsieh, partner at Kleiner Perkins.

“Dexterity also stands out because of their high-touch approach with customers, which includes gaining a deep understanding of customers’ needs, and then offering a Robots-as-a-Service offering. This unique pricing model allows Dexterity to deploy quickly and effectively, which results in an immediate performance and financial impact on customers’ warehouse operations.”

Dexterity Full Stack Approach

Dexterity develops its robots with a full-stack approach, combining both software and hardware. To support high performance and adaptability with safe human-robot interaction, its robots have capabilities like touch perception, computer vision, force control, and contextual awareness.

Dexterity partners closely with customers to design systems and controls that match their individual needs and products, performing tasks such as fulfillment, kitting, sortation, singulation, palletization, and depalletization. Its platform is modular – rather than being coded to perform one specific task, robots can be deployed anywhere on any warehouse use case, with grippers or suction cups to suit objects being handled, 3D camera systems to track items, and general machine learning models trained to identify arbitrary unknown objects.

By working with Dexterity robots, operators have become 47 percent more productive, and that improvement is growing over time as the robots learn and are more tightly integrate into local operations. Dexterity robots can also work safely alongside or independently of humans and have the ability to comply and respond to human movement and interference.

“Dexterity’s artificial intelligence, computer vision, and stacking design technology was what really stood out to us. Samir provides a clear vision for the future of our robotic applications and gives us confidence that with this partnership, we can easily deploy our robots in a variety of ways,” said Toshihiko M., Manager, Robotics Business Center, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Solving for Warehousing Challenges

Robots have been widely used in manufacturing, but they traditionally lack intelligence so they could only be deployed for precise pre-programmed tasks – think welding in auto manufacturing where the welds are in the same place for every car. Dexterity enables human-like intelligence and dexterity to unlock a larger set of tasks in supply chain environments that have been previously unsolved by traditional robotics solutions.