Video: Manna Testing Robotic Arms to Swap Out Battery Packs in its Drones

Daisy-chaining automation FTW!

At first, we covered robots robots performing single tasks — carry this burrito from point A to point B, for instance. But a trend we’re starting to see take shape is automation extending further up the workflow stack. Take for instance this video Manna CEO Bobby Healy posted to Linkedin today showing a robot arm autonomously replacing a battery in a Manna delivery drone.

Substack doesn’t let me embed Linkedin posts, so you can see the screenshot below, and here’s the text:

In order to get the levels of volume testing we need, we use autonomous robots to do the battery swaps. This way we can fly 24x7 to test for mechanical issues across all weather conditions.

Having a fast autonomous turnaround is part of enabling low-cost, high-speed and safe operations for the future.

Thanks to the team VIKASO® | Robotics 4.0 for your hard work on this.

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We’ve been seeing more of this type of end-to-end robotics delivery chain lately. Over in Istanbul, Turkey, Speedy Market has built an autonomous retail store that loads self-driving robots that make deliveries in high-rise residential buildings. And just last week we saw that StoreXapp, which makes autonomous retail towers load up Kiwibot delivery robots to make snack and drink deliveries on the campus of Loyola Marymount University.

Though robotic delivery is not anywhere near mainstream yet, startups are already working on daisy chaining together various autonomous pieces of the delivery puzzle. Which is good! Part of the appeal with autonomous delivery is that it is, well, autonomous — that it doesn’t require a whole lot of human intervention.

Over in South Korea, Woowa Brothers is working with companies like Hyundai and HDC I-Controls so Woowa food delivery robots can access secure buildings and autonomously ride elevators. This means a robot could carry food from a restaurant directly to an apartment’s front door.

Here in the U.S., Valqari is building out automated landing pads/smart lockers for commercial and residential drone deliveries. And much further down the road, Piestro already has an agreement with Kiwibot that will have delivery robots able to pick up pizzas directly from smart pizza vending machines.

Manna’s battery-swapping robots are a little different, but it just extends the automation in the opposite direction. Instead of sliding automation closer to the consumer, it pushes it closer to the business side and point of origin.

In other words, there will be more business opportunities to automate the nooks and crannies all along the path between the restaurant and customer.

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