EDISON, NJ (August 1, 2020) — Former engineering students at Rutgers University have unveiled a new company from stealth mode, Aersys Inc, which aims to simplify warehouse automation to make it accessible to everyday retailers, grocers, and other small businesses.
Aersys is building a highly configurable robotic storage and retrieval solution that can be adapted for small-parts inventory handling, micro-fulfillment, curbside pickup, and package transfer to and from autonomous delivery vehicles. This configurability is accomplished by using specialized modules that perform different functions such as customer pickup, drone hand-off, and order picking. These modules can be combined in different ways to create the perfect automation solution for any retail application.
The retail automation industry today provides solutions that are complicated, expensive, and hard to reconfigure. “Imagine if a phone manufacturer spent months developing a custom smartphone that only supported one app, and charged you a million dollars for it,” said Vallab Nayak, co-founder and CEO at Aersys. “That’s where the industry is now, and we are creating the first ‘ mass-market phone with an app store’ for physical automation.”
Some equipment providers offer a custom automation solution that requires technical expertise, a large budget, and a drawn-out timeline for installation and integration. Other providers offer one-size-fits-all solutions that are more affordable, but do not scale and cannot integrate well with retailers’ preferred workflows. The AerNode’s modular approach allows it to be the best of both worlds. It requires no technical expertise, installs in days instead of months, and costs a fraction of what a traditional solution would cost.
For businesses, Aersys provides an affordable and flexible solution that eliminates several inefficiencies in the supply chain and pickup process. For example, consumers who order an item online from a retailer can now pick up items outside the store without having to step out of their car. This solution is referred to as click-and-collect, and reduces pickup times to under 20 seconds. Insider Intelligence estimates that US shoppers spent $72.46 billion via click-and-collect in 2020, accounting for 9.1% of all ecommerce sales; spending is expected to rise to $83.47 billion this year. The same solution can be reconfigured to manage stockroom inventory, supporting retailers earlier in the supply chain.
Similar to the transition from mainframes to personal computers, or from industrial 3D printers to desktop printers, Aersys believes that technology and business model innovation will open the door for a new wave of businesses to leverage retail automation.
Currently, Aersys employs 10 people at its Edison office, comprised of students and recent graduates from several NJ universities. Aersys is currently testing and demonstrating prototypes, and plans to launch a pilot in early 2021.