In this post, we’ll be sharing a few articles we’ve been reading that explore various aspects of warehouse automation. From smart sensors, to “dark” warehouses, the state of cognitive technology, and a warehouse robot that was taught to work at home, we have you covered.

Intelligent, IO-Link Connected Sensors Underpin the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Factory automation inherently requires a large number of sensors in order to operate and proactively monitor plant floor operations. And with the recent wave of smart sensors, an alternative to the traditional analog sensors that only communicate one-way, these smart sensors are able to relay everything from temperature and weight, to proximity and pressure. This piece, by Suhel Dhanani of Maxim Integrated, focuses on the growing open standard IO-link protocol that allows for highly configurable sensors used to optimize plant operations.

It’s Lights Out in the Warehouse

This next one comes to us from Ben Ames, senior editor at DC Velocity, and focuses on recent advances in technology renewing the buzz about dark, or “lights-out,” warehouses, where machines fill orders without human intervention. But not everybody’s ready to flip the switch.

Just How Smart Are Smart Machines?

Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby bring us a great piece on the state of sophisticated cognitive technologies and their ability to operate autonomously, eliminating the need for human labor. In their breakdown of the 4 main levels of intelligence, this article helps to clarify today’s limits on machine intelligence and the challenges that innovators are working to overcome next.

This Is the Robot Maid Elon Musk Is Funding

This final article details how a warehouse robot called Fetch was taught to do household chores through the help of OpenAI. This comes to us from Will Knight, senior AI editor for the MIT Technology Review, and explores a machine learning approach called deep reinforcement which robots can use to acquire new skills that might normally be difficult to program by hand.