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ST Engineering launches robots for logistics industry

The Straits Times by HARIZ BAHARUDIN

Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) has developed robots that can operate in factories, warehouses and other spaces in the logistics sector.

The five machines, collectively known as STrobo, were unveiled yesterday at the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific trade fair at the Singapore Expo.

They consist of pallet trucks and stackers, tow tractors, forklifts and trucks that can operate in very narrow aisles, all suited to performing routine and repetitive material handling tasks.

ST Engineering, which drew on its expertise in making defence gear to develop the robots, said yesterday: "With advanced pallet detection and recognition capability, STrobo's family of solutions can accurately pick and place cargo and is easily integrated into production, logistics and warehouse environments."

It added that the robots have advanced indoor and outdoor navigation and environment sensing software. The pallet stackers and trucks, for example, can recognise pallets that need to be stacked, and come equipped with collision detection capabilities to prevent accidents.

They can also be manned and controlled by operators if needed.

ST Engineering did not disclose their prices.

The robots are the company's first foray into making material handling equipment and mark its latest move to expand its operations beyond the defence industry.

In July, ST Engineering Land Systems won a $54 million contract to supply 111 double-decker buses that will include a passenger information display system.

Mr William Lee, senior vice-president and general manager of logistics automation at ST Engineering Land Systems, said at the robots' launch that given the group's efforts in developing defence technology, it felt natural for it to develop STrobo, particularly in the light of Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.

Mr Lee later told The Straits Times: "Our strength is in engineering. In fact, over the last 51 years, we have already developed autonomous vehicles, but for the defence application.

"So it is quite a natural thing that now we leverage our experience and our technology to start embarking on a new area, which is the robotic and autonomous system business.

"This is really very much in line with supporting the Smart Nation initiative, so we are trying to go into smart transportation and smart logistic to support the full initiative."