A3 Recognizes Daniel Theobald as a Thought Leader in Automation

Leader in automation

A Recognized Leader in Automation                                                                  

The Association for Advancing Automation recently featured Daniel Theobald, CEO and Founder of Vecna Robotics in a Q&A to discuss the future of Automation. Daniel is an automation expert and industry leader with decades of experience. Daniel has spent his career leading teams of engineers in developing robotic solutions for multiple industries. He has 67 issued patents and an additional 30 pending. Daniel has worked closely with leading technology organizations such as DARPA, DOD, NASA, NIH, and USDA. His work aims to advance the use of robotics and AI software to improve supply chain efficiency. In addition to founding Vecna Robotics, Daniel also co-founded MassRobotics, a non-profit dedicated to the global advancement of the robotics industry. Daniel is dedicated to the idea that technology can be used to empower humans to live more fulfilling lives. 

The Future of robotics in industrial settings 

As an experienced leader in automation, Daniel shared his opinion that the decision to adopt autonomous solutions should not be solely based on solving the stress of increased demand alone. The bigger picture to consider is workflows as a whole. By 2025 it is predicted that 4 million robots will operate in 50,000 warehouses. The next decade will be spent coordinating and orchestrating those robots to achieve productivity goals. 

Workflow Orchestration can share the status of all robots in real time. This includes the human workforce, manual trucks, and all autonomous equipment, including tuggers, pallet trucks, small robot conveyors, and robot arms. The advantage of Orchestration is increasing throughput and operating more efficiently. While working, facility management can collect real time data, increase efficiency, control precision, and leverage human creativity. 

AI Improvements in Warehouses 

According to Daniel Theobald, the environments of warehouses and distribution centers are constantly evolving. Facility management may be excellent problem solvers, however, they are at a disadvantage on the data front. Access to real-time data will help them anticipate future changes and quickly implement new strategies. The goal is to prepare for any scenario without impacting operational efficiency. AI provides necessary information to maintain maximum productivity. The Association of Advancing Automation included a summary of the key benefits of applications that continuously improve efficiency. 

  • Cross-platform orchestration: Orchestration considers all automated solutions within the environment from multiple manufacturers. Through strategic coordination across platforms, form factors, and capabilities, orchestration understands who is available to work, what tasks need to be completed, and how to assign each job to ensure work continues most efficiently. 
  • Synchronous simulation: Much like the driving and navigation app Waze can propose a new route to the driver, AI can propose a new workflow to operations managers. These platforms, with access to real-time data, can constantly run simulations to find more efficient ways to complete missions given all available resources. 
  • Predictive analytics: Orchestration engines integrate with legacy automation, piece-picking robots, WMS, and MES systems to provide a system-wide view of operations. With this level of insight, the AI engine can use predictive analytics to get ahead of bottlenecks in real-time. 
  • Continuous improvement: AI-powered orchestration engines can collect, analyze, and deliver insights based on data to ensure continuous improvement for robots and task allocation over time. This helps ensure robotic investments continue to learn specific warehouse settings’ nuances and deliver enhanced results, rather than stay static from the first deployment date. 

The key to combining the power of robots and AI Leader in automation

Humans are essential to all warehouse operations. In a single facility there is an optimal role for each key player; humans, robots, and AI. The job of AI is to constantly seek out opportunities for improvement, learn, and communicate the findings with the human workforce. Humans then plan the best use for robots and deploy them to those tasks. Robots are responsible for carrying out the grueling labor with precision and efficiency. A key benefit to this system is improving the quality of life for the human workforce. By assigning the dangerous and repetitive tasks to robots, humans can focus on higher-value activities. Tasks for laborers include exception handling and creative problem solving. 

Vecna Robotics, leader in automation and workflow orchestration 

One of the unique benefits Vecna Robotics provides to its customers is the considering all elements of a facility and workflowVecna Robotics understands that optimizing a single piece will not give customers the results they want. Considering this, Vecna Robotics AI-powered orchestration engine, Pivotal, and the autonomous equipment work in sync. The deployment of these solutions into a facility also includes in-depth training for the existing human workforce to understand and maximize the power of their autonomous equipment. The allocation of tasks between Pivotal, AMRs, and humans results in high employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Leader in automationThe challenges of automation implementation 

Deploying robots and overcoming the learning curve is often the most difficult part of implementing robots. The key to optimizing autonomous solutions is simple, start small. By starting small, customers learn how the technology works best for them and their workforce. From this point, it is easier to scale. Without experience, a small fleet is more manageable and allows teams to gain confidence and assess ROI. Once the production environment is working in a comfortable routine with AMRs it is easier to grow the fleet. 

Learning how to read and leverage data is a low-cost way to simulate multiple scenarios and determine ideal utilization practices for your equipment. Analyzing data also helps identify areas for improvement. Data on resource usage, distance traveled, travel time vs. idle time, deadheading, and high-traffic routes through facilities are collected. Translating data into action is one of the greatest advantages of AMRs as it brings significant value to your operations. 

Daniel was recently named a 2021 Pro to Know by Supply and Demand Chain Executive, read the announcementhere.  



Vecna Robotics Collaborates with MassRobotics to Develop Interoperability Standards

MassRobotics Publishes World’s First Open Source Autonomous Mobile Robot Interoperability Standards

Industry Experts Partner to Develop Guidelines that Enable Robots from Different Vendors to “Speak” the Same Language and Work Together Cooperatively

BOSTON, Mass., May 18, 2021MassRobotics, an independent, non-profit center that serves to educate, inspire and bring robotics initiatives, investments and companies to life, today announced the release of the MassRobotics Interoperability Standard. The new initiative enables Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) from multiple vendors to integrate and work together seamlessly to support safe and efficient operations in global factories, warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers. Members of the working group and contributors to the newly introduced standards include Vecna Robotics, 6 River Systems, Waypoint Robotics, Locus Robotics, Seegrid, MiR, Autoguide Mobile Robots, Third Wave Automation, Open-Source Robotics Foundation and others.

“The release of version 1.0 of the MassRobotics Interoperability Standard is a crucial milestone for the industry,” said Daniel Theobald, CEO of Vecna Robotics and co-founder of MassRobotics. “It’s this pre-competitive collaboration and combined thinking from the greatest minds in the field that drive the sector forward exponentially faster than any one vendor could otherwise.”

According to Logistic IQ, the global AMR and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) market is expected to reach $14 billion by 2026, with more than 270 vendors leading the manufacturing and logistics space. AMR adoption in particular is growing at an incredible rate, with a CAGR of roughly 45% between 2020 and 2026.

Until now, fleets of robots from multiple vendors have had no standard way to coordinate activities or share information. The MassRobotics AMR Interoperability Working Group was formed in 2020 to address these challenges and simplify the adoption of autonomous mobile robots into the market. The group’s newly issued standard allows robots of different types to share status information and operational conventions, or “rules of the road,” so they can work together more cohesively on a warehouse or factory floor. The standard also enables the creation of operational dashboards so managers can gain insights into fleet productivity and resource utilization.

“Functional and practical standards are a critical next step for robotic automation,” said Tom Ryden, Executive Director, MassRobotics. “Our AMR Interoperability Working Group has diligently focused on development and testing of these standards, which are needed now, and we fully expect will evolve as the robotics industry and end-user companies implement them. We encourage buyers to begin looking for the MassRobotics Interoperability Standard compliance badge when making purchasing decisions.”

End-users from major shipping and distribution centers have validated the need and provided requirements for this standard. The first use case will be trialed at a FedEx facility where AMRs from Waypoint Robotics, Vecna Robotics and others will be operating in the same production area.

“I applaud the Working Group for their efforts and dedication in laying out these first steps towards AMR interoperability. The diversity of the team shows that the industry can work together in finding solutions around this issue,” said Aaron Prather, Senior Advisor, FedEx. “Our interoperability validation in Memphis later this year will be a great real-world application of Version 1.0’s capabilities and will help to provide feedback to the Working Group to potentially demonstrate what future steps may need to be taken to make further improvements.”

“Support for this effort has been broad, and we are indebted to numerous companies and individuals for donating so much time and expertise to the development of this standard,” said Theobald. “This important technology lays the groundwork for future innovation and concrete value for customers worldwide.”

The new open-source code allows end-users to build dashboards to monitor fleet status and efficacy across mixed-vendor teams of AMRs. The AMR interoperability standards are published on GitHub and can be accessed here: https://github.com/MassRobotics-AMR/AMR_Interop_Standard

About MassRobotics

MassRobotics is the result of the collective work of a global group of engineers, rocket scientists and entrepreneurs with a shared vision to create a strong, vibrant robotics and IoT ecosystem. MassRobotics’ mission is to help create and scale the next generation of successful robotics and connected devices companies by providing entrepreneurs and innovative robotics/automation startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test and commercialize their products and solutions. See massrobotics.org for details.

Vecna Robotics Tests 5G Technology Applications


Earlier this year, Verizon and Newlab launched the 5G Studio to support the development of next-generation industry applications built on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. Vecna Robotics was among the first cohort of partnered companies to test new applications of 5G technology through the 5G Studio. Newlab and Verizon have unveiled the first results of the 5G studio which includes how Vecna Robotics has successfully utilized the technology to make strides in transforming  the industrial automation industry.

To facilitate the 5G Studio, Verizon deployed 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute (MEC) at Newlab’s headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Leveraging access to 5G capabilities and Newlab’s advanced prototyping resources and product realization support, companies from Newlab’s vast member community and beyond have been able to showcase their technologies to address challenges across industries.“5G technology and edge computing are ushering in an unprecedented era of innovation, with profound implications for how we will live and work,” said Shaun Stewart, CEO of Newlab. “Earlier this year, we proudly established the 5G Studio with Verizon, a collaboration intended to harness the immense potential of 5G advancements by providing critical support to companies applying technology to transform industry and society. The results produced by this year’s incredible cohort of 5G Studio companies is a testament to the enormous breadth of these solutions, to the cohort companies’ visions, and to the efficacy of Newlab’s Innovation Studio model in empowering entrepreneurial innovation.”

With 5G, Vecna Robotics has demonstrated a streamlined cloud-based architecture and deployed systems more rapidly, reliably teleoperated continuously and at scale using VR, and processed non-critical functions and machine learning in the cloud.

Read the full article on CNN, Business Insider, and the official release here.