Ahold Delhaize Partners With TU Delft and Expands into Robotics
DELFT, THE NETHERLANDS - Last week, Ahold Delhaize announced that it is partnering with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. This partnership will help Ahold Delhaize expand its Artificial Intelligence for Retail (AIR) Lab, which includes a robotics research program and test site for developing state-of-the-art innovations in the retail industry.
This is the first expansion of Ahold Delhaize's AIRLab, and the retailer hopes it will drive more innovations and build more knowledge of the intersection of retail, AI, and robotics.
"The rapid advancements in AI and robotics provide us with significant opportunities to make everyday shopping even easier for our customers and develop new solutions for our warehouses and last-mile delivery,” said Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, in a press release. “Working together with academic partners such as TU Delft will enable Ahold Delhaize and AIRLab to shape a technology-driven world in a responsible way. It helps us become a frontrunner in AI research and development for retail and ultimately build capabilities that are scalable for the group."
The company also plans to open a new test site—based in RoboValley, a robotics research center developed by TU Delft Robotics Institute—where researchers can work with partners, students, and start-ups to explore solutions for the retail supply chain. This site, which is slated to be operational by 2019, is supported by the tech incubator of TU Delft, YES!Delft, and will be used to build and test robotic prototypes for retail settings, including robotic grippers to handle products like fresh fruits and vegetables and more.
"At AIRLab Delft, scientists will study how employees can teach their robots to do repetitive tasks, or develop methods to optimize the motion and coordination of mobile robots and of delivery vehicles. This collaboration with Ahold Delhaize allows us to solve real-world challenges by focusing on fundamental issues in robotics, such as how to learn and safely execute tasks in the context of uncertainty, how to safely navigate and interact in environments shared with humans, and how to efficiently and effectively plan the routes of fleets of last-mile delivery. We are very excited,” said Professor Martijn Wisse, Director of the TU Delft Robotics Institute, and Supervisor of AIRLab Delft.
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