Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics have developed Roomba-like warehouse bots that release their payload via collision.

The so-called LoadRunner is an autonomous, omnidirectional robotic vehicle that delivers packages within a warehouse setting by “crashing” into a shock-absorbing bumper. According to the robots’ developers, the inertia from the impact propels the packages from the robots and to their target destinations.

Capable of traveling at speeds of up to 33 ft per second and carrying payloads of 66 lb each, the LoadRunners feature onboard cameras and sensors for tracking other LoadRunners, thereby preventing collisions with other robots operating within the warehouse.

Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and LogisticsSource: Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics

The LoadRunners can also reportedly work in configurations of two or more robots to carry payloads beyond their individual capacities thanks to their programmed swarm behaviors. Additionally, during testing, roughly 60 LoadRunners processed an estimated 13,000 parcels per hour.

To see the LoadRunners in action, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.

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