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DHL Robotics Challenge 2017

Posted March 25, 2017

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Calling all inventors and visionaries! DHL needs your help to deal with the ever-increasing volume of material in our warehouses and distribution centers.

This year’s DHL Robotics Challenge requires you to design a prototype of a mobile piece-picking robot with an arm that can navigate traditional warehouse shelves, picking up items and placing them into an order tote. Your prototype must be able to traverse a typical warehouse environment at walking speed while picking items from shelves and maneuvering these items into a packaging area. It should save warehouse workers the tiresome task of walking and manually pushing a trolley through the aisles.

Who are we looking for?

This challenge is open to startups, researchers, and university students who can develop an innovative robotic device capable of autonomous mobility and item picking in a typical warehouse environment. The minimum target requirements for the robot
(subject to change) are:

  • Minimum total payload of 15 kg (30 lbs)
  • Manipulation of single items with a maximum height, width and length of 60cm (24’’)
  • Minimum manipulation weight of 7 kg (15 lbs)
  • Obstacle avoidance/visual guidance system
  • Electrically powered
  • Maximum reach height of robot: 190cm or 75”
  • Maximum width of ~100cm or 39″

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How to enter?

It’s really easy to enter. You’ll need to submit a document (containing 500 words or less) and video content of up to 3 minutes in length. For the top three entrants this video will be used as part of the pitch at DHL Innovation Day. Both your document and video should outline the problem, and explain the solution.

All entries must be submitted by 16th September 2017 at 5 pm GMT.

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What can you win?

  • Pitch your concept to senior DHL executives
  • Participate in a joint proof-of-concept with DHL
  •  Win a grand prize of €15,000 with DHL
  •  Display the winning concept at the DHL Innovation Centers

How is the winner chosen?

Once you’ve submitted your idea, all entries go through a pre-selection process based on their originality, functionality, perceived commercial feasibility, aesthetics and potential to solve the problem outlined.

For each challenge, three finalists will be chosen by a panel of logistics experts and will be notified by October 6th 2017.

Representatives from each of the three finalists will be flown to the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany to present their prototypes in front of 180+ senior supply chain professionals at the DHL Innovation Day (16th November 2017). The three finalists’ robots will be evaluated based on their performance and ability to autonomously navigate and pick items from shelves in a simulated warehouse environment. After the demonstration, there will be an audience live-voting session; the entry with the most votes will be awarded as the winner of the DHL Innovation Challenge.


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