Inventories are a necessary evil that need to be carried out at least once a year. Despite their necessity, they are also tedious, time consuming, labor intensive, and often involve businesses shutting their doors for whole days as they count how many unsold widgets are in the back room.                      

Inventory RobotThe Fraunhofer Institute’s InventAIRy Project plans to change that by developing a new flying robotic drone that not only takes over the drudgery of stock taking, but also acts as a new tool for record keeping and streamlining warehouse operations.

Under the leadership of logistics specialist Marco Freund at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dortmund, Germany, the InventAIRy Project aims to turn inventory work into as automatic an operation as synching a spreadsheet.

According to Fraunhofer, the InventAIRy system should not only be able to count the number of buttons and zippers on the shelves, but also reduce costs by eliminating recording errors, identifying bottlenecks in production, and keeping a running tally of the inventory.