I was at Menards a while ago, they had a robot floor scrubber running up and down the aisles. Had a "teddy bear" sitting in the drivers seat. I had to watch it working, testing some to see how close it would get to me before stopping. About 10 feet, ≈3 meters, was as close as it got. Walking up to it from behind about the same distance, it would stop. I did talk with a guy who saw me "teasing" the robot. He said it has a map of the floor plan in memory, so it just drives around, not bumping into anything or anyone. The store is divided in sections, so the machine focuses on one section at a time, when it has finished that, moves to another, if the batteries get low, it heads back home.
Most of those operate off of an in floor grid of steel pegs in a grid. Each peg of the grid is a location point entered into a program. There was a Keebler factory in Alsip, IL that installed an entire warehouse system of robots complete with a 40' high by about 100' long rack storage system that was also automated with a robot pull system. One rack system would pull raw materials, take them to the proper robot location at the end of that rack and drop them on robots to be taken to production. Finished product was loaded on pallets on the robots and sent to be wrapped then on to another rack system to await shipping. It appeared the rack storage was random but every pallet location was recorded in the system by rack number and position therein so it really didn't matter where the load was stored. The grid of steel pegs indicated location and guided each robot to the correct destination and path. No robot had a set "route" either, which ever empty robot was closest would go to the destination where it was needed then travel to the next. There was a control room with 2 guys that oversaw the operation of just the robots. When a product was completed they were notified in the system and they enabled a pick up there then the system took over. They did almost nothing unless something was recalled to production or inspection or an out of the ordinary destination. The robots had a light stack on them with battery indicator and strobe beacon along with scissor lift functions to raise / lower loads to work height. They had beepers and sensors so they would not run into anyone. It was a very interesting operation to watch.
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