Ahold Delhaize announces today that it is partnering with Delft University of Technology, YES!Delft and RoboValley to expand the company’s Artificial Intelligence for Retail (AIR) Lab. This industry-academic collaboration is set up to conduct research into artificial intelligence and robotics and developing state-of-the-art innovations for the retail industry, that will be tested in RoboValley’s new smart industry fieldlab RoboHouse.
The test site will be operational in early 2019. Our RoboHouse team will closely collaborate with Ahold Delhaize to make sure the test conditions will mimic the circumstances in, for example, stores or warehouses.
Anouschka Versleijen, managing director of RoboValley, is excited about the new AIRLab Delft. “We expect the collaboration with Ahold Delhaize to bring some novel robotics applications”, she says. “As RoboValley, we enable the transfer of the newest robotics technology from academia to the private sector and society. Retail is an especially exciting area, with many opportunities for new applications. These robotics applications will be enhancing everybody’s daily life.”
TU Delft Robotics Institute
Martijn Wisse, director of TU Delft Robotics Institute, will be the leader of the new lab. “This collaboration with Ahold Delhaize allows us to solve real-world challenges by focusing on fundamental issues in robotics, such as how to learn and safely execute tasks in the context of uncertainty, how to safely navigate and interact in environments shared with humans, and how to efficiently and effectively plan the routes of fleets of last-mile delivery”, he states. “We are very excited.”
Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, says: “The rapid advancements in AI and robotics provide us with significant opportunities to make everyday shopping even easier for our customers and develop new solutions for our warehouses and last-mile delivery. Working together with academic partners such as TU Delft will enable Ahold Delhaize and AIRLab to shape a technology-driven world in a responsible way. It helps us become a frontrunner in AI research and development for retail and ultimately build capabilities that are scalable for the group.”
AIRLab is part of the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence, an open research platform that unites universities and businesses and serves as an engine for AI talent in the Netherlands. In AIRLab’s research center in Amsterdam, scientists conduct research into responsible algorithms that can be used to make recommendations to consumers, and into transparent AI technology for managing goods flows, for example by improving availability by taking into account local weather conditions. The research is taking place at Albert Heijn and bol.com, brands of Ahold Delhaize and can be applied in other brands in the U.S. and Europe.