The next time you pack your bags at the supermarket checkout, give yourself a small pat on the back.A task which is so simple for humans - quickly and efficiently packing a bag of groceries of different sizes and shapes without crushing anything - is something that until recently has been beyond the abilities of robots.
It requires vision systems to locate the produce, a flexible and strong hand to grab items and a sophisticated artificial intelligence which knows that a carton of eggs should not be stacked under a four-pint bottle of milk.
It is a problem that James Matthews, the chief executive of Ocado Technology (part of the Ocado Group) is wrestling with in the warehouses that handle online orders.
The company has a sophisticated warehouse in Erith in east London, which is already highly automated.
Hundreds of robots zip around a grid, collecting groceries and bringing them to a member of staff who will pack them into boxes, which are then loaded on to trucks for delivery.
Hundreds of robots zip around a grid, collecting groceries and bringing them to a member of staff who will pack them into boxes, which are then loaded on to trucks for delivery."We're typically picking say 50 different items of different shapes and sizes, and how dense we pack them is absolutely critical to the economics of our business, BBC reported.