Škoda trials stocktaking drones

Czech car manufacturer Škoda is currently testing advanced drone technology together in partnership with Czech company Robodrone in order to identify and count the number of empty containers located outside the company’s plant from the air.

“We are continuously working on improving the efficiency of our everyday production processes and making work easier for our employees. Drones assist with and speed up the stocktaking process,” said Michael Oeljeklaus, Škoda board member for production and logistics.

“As a key pillar of our 2025 Strategy, we want to make sure that such processes will take place completely automatically as part of our everyday operations.”

The drone is equipped with LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to accurately identify and count unoccupied containers at Škoda’s plant in Mladá Boleslav. The data is then automatically transferred to the logistics department to be processed.

The drone can fly up to 20 km/h and has the ability to carry a load of up to 5kg. A LIDAR sensor captures up to 300,000 images per second and navigates using a 3D map. The drone detects and counts the equipment containers using specially designed algorithms developed uniquely for Škoda.

During the next development phase, the drone will get its own ‘nest’ and the battery-powered device will then be able to autonomously navigate to a charging station.