Ikea owner launches 100 drones to track inventory in stores

Ingka Group, which operates 465 Ikea stores around the world, has introduced 100 autonomous drones in locations throughout Europe as part of plans to improve stock accuracy and the availability of products.

In partnership with technology company Verity, the furniture retailer said the drones will help employees track inventory, with staff working in Ikea stores no longer needing to manually confirm the contents of each pallet of goods delivered.

The drones operate when stores are closed, require no humans to operate them and can fly in the dark.

Ingka Group, which is currently the largest Ikea retailer, is deploying the drone technology in 16 different locations including Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.

Commenting on the news Tolga Öncu, head of retail at Ingka Group, said: “We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfilment and become true centres for omnichannel retailing.”

He added: “Introducing drones and other advanced tools – such as, for example, robots for picking up goods – is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers’ wellbeing, lowers operational costs, and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers.”

Verity recently announced the completion of a 30 million CHF ($32 million USD) Series B funding round, which the company said would help it scale up operations and provide the technology to enable businesses to automate and scale their supply chains.

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