We talked to Yang Wei, founder of Quicktron, about intelligent warehouse logistics and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Yang Wei: It was just Chinese New Year when the pandemic broke out, which forced us to experience the longest holiday ever that would span over 20 days. While I enjoyed my time with my family, I never stopped to soothe the nearly 500 Quicktron employees by telling them that the company would never cut our numbers and that increasing factories, warehouses, hospitals, and airports would need our robots, which couldn’t work without our services.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Quicktron.
Yang Wei: I had an AI-related major back in the university. I engaged in the R&D of AGVs for Wharfs after graduation. In 2014, a colleague and a university classmate of mine and I, got together to work on AGVs for warehouses with the dream of ‘Free Human Beings from Manual Handling’. In 2018, the three of us created an intelligence warehouse with 1,000 AGVs running at the same time for one of the e-commerce leading companies – Alibaba, setting up the very first ‘1,000-level individual warehouse’ record in Asia and redefining the logistical model of e-commerce businesses. And now, our AGVs have evolved to AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) and broken the old limits of warehouses to workshops, grocery stores, hospitals, airports, libraries, etc.
We believe in the days to come, each and every place deploying logistics robots will just look like an intelligent city possessing an intelligent traffic system like 3PL WMS. The alleys within the four walls are the urban lanes; forklifts, trucks; bin robots, mini-buses; and expressage sorting robots, not so much in loading capacity but fast in speed, the cars. The traffic capacity of these alleys is the traffic lights of roads, and each vehicle and robot are automatically piloted, leaving the coordination of their data to the central control system of the intelligent city.
How does Quicktron innovate?
Yang Wei: Our dream is turning dreams into reality via ‘Indoor Intelligent Driving’. For robots body, Quicktron has increased the input since 2020 in technical development such as Slam, machine vision, integrated operation optimization, and mixed algorithm of deep reinforcement learning, with the effort to create AMRs with senses, thoughts, and decisions and establish composite robotic product line “AMR+” by overlaying belts, rollers, robotic arms and other structures for a variety of functions.
As for robot scheduling, Quicktron launched the EVO system in 2019 and has been enhancing the algorithm since 2020, solving large-scale robot cluster scheduling, multi-type robot coordination, coordination between robots and other intelligent devices, cross-scenario operations, and other issues with the application of self-adapting neural network fuzzy inference system algorithm, hybrid metaheuristic algorithm, and other technologies. And that’s not the entire story. We were the first in the industry to apply 5G and Wi-Fi 6 on logistics robots, realizing real-time linkage among humans, machines, paths, and systems.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Yang Wei: The COVID-19 pandemic has had effects on our activities in several aspects. It has boosted the demands across industries in unmanned or less-attended internal logistics processes, allowing our product sales to see a significant increase.