The AWISP project is funded by Innovate UK to develop an automated system for low-cost inventory management.
Despite other automated stock taking solutions already being available, most are designed to work at the pallet-level and are costed for large warehouses of fast-moving inventory. As such, smaller and medium warehouses distributing products directly from pallets lack an available solution. With the rapid increase in direct-to-customer shipping as well as an uptake in online sales in general, SME distributors represent a rapidly growing market with limited competition.
AWISP aims to provide a scanning service that reports both the location and the quantity of remaining stock. The technology consists of an autonomous UAV, capable of indoor navigation without external aid. Stock levels are determined using a mixture of RFID and volumetric analysis of the space above each pallet. This technical approach is the primary innovation for the project, exceeding other UAV based systems currently available or known to be in development. The benefits of no-infrastructure changes, per-pallet stock-level estimation, direct product localisation and 3D warehouse visualization are considered the key selling points for potential customers.