UAE firm develops drone to tackle stock management issues

Exponent Technology Services says Age Steel will be first company to employ new technology from October
UAE firm develops drone to tackle stock management issues
By Staff writer
Wed 10 Sep 2014 03:53 PM

A UAE-based technology services company said on Wednesday it has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) solution for inventory management challenges faced by companies.

Exponent Technology Services said the solution merges the capabilities of both RFID (radio frequency identification) and UAVs, better known as drones.

"This solution has the potential to support the UAE traders to cut their annual operational costs and thereby help them save millions of dollars," the company said in a statement.

Inventory tracking across large open yards presents a serious challenge to many steel traders and distributors in the UAE, resulting in higher operational costs.

In order to address this, Exponent said it has developed a solution at its Dubai-based lab, over an exhaustive period of research and testing lasting several months.

Age Steel, a Middle East steel trader operating multiple yards across Dubai, will be the first company to employ Exponent’s  inventory tracking solution in the UAE starting in October, the statement added.

Raed Siddiqui, Age Steel’s director of operations said: “We are continuously striving to improve our internal processes and to employ technology in ways that improve our bottom line.  

"Our challenge was to locate inventory faster and more accurately, reducing the time spent in processing orders. Exponent helped realise this goal by automating a large fraction of our inventory counting process while minimising the extent of change that we had to adopt."

So how does it work? Proprietary application developed by Exponent accumulated RFID tag signal data via an RFID reader mounted on their customised UAV. This is then transmitted in flight, in real-time, back to their bespoke inventory management system using a GPRS connection.

The inventory system then processes the RFID data and accurately determines the location of the individual bundles to within two square metres 98.2 percent of the time.

“We are impressed with how this innovative solution offered by Exponent has evolved from start to finish, adapting to our specific needs and challenges and look forward to implementing the system in our existing yard of 10,000 square meters with the future possibility of extending to our main yard of 65,000 square meters covering our entire range of products,” said Asim Siddiqui, managing director of Age Steel.

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