MIT Researchers Develop RFly, an Inventory Management Drone

Posted August 25, 2017

MIT researchers have developed a system that will allow small drones to read RFID tags from up to ten meters away, as well as identify the tags locations with an average error of about 19 centimeters. These researchers believe that this system could be used in large scale warehouses for both monitoring, to help prevent inventory mismatches, and to find the location of items to make it easier for employees to quickly meet customer requests. Safety won’t be an issue as these drones will be small and lightweight equipped with plastic rotors.

This will help many businesses as each year billions of dollars are lost all because of mismatches in inventory. Even the U.S. Army has had the problem of losing track of supplies.

“Between 2003 and 2011, the U.S. Army lost track of $5.8 billion of supplies among its warehouses,” says Fadel Adib, the Sony Corporation Career Development Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, whose group at the MIT Media Lab developed the new system. “In 2016, the U.S. National Retail Federation reported that shrinkage – loss of items in retail stores – averaged around $45.2 billion annually. By enabling drones to find and localize items and equipment, this research will provide a fundamental technological advancement for solving these problems.”

Watch how the system would work below.

Interested in learning more? Read the full article here news.mit.edu.