Driving forklifts from home
Thursday, 22 October 2020
Mountain View, CA, United States
Phantom Auto applies remote-control technology to enable people to work off-site
Nervous about catching COVID-19 in a warehouse? Just work from home - even if you're a forklift driver.
That's the message from Elliot Katz, co-founder of Phantom Auto, a company that applies remote-control technology to enable people to work off-site, controlling their machines from afar.
"We have customers today where we are fully remotely operating those forklifts from remote locations," says Katz, whose firm has equipped a string of new clients with these systems in recent months.
Phantom Auto's technology is now installed in around a dozen warehouses in the US and Europe, he adds.
Some see this concept, teleoperation, as a stepping stone between traditionally driven vehicles and the truly autonomous ones of the future.
He explains that most of the warehouses using Phantom Auto's technology fence off the space where the remote-controlled forklifts work, to avoid people accidentally stepping into the path of one of the vehicles. But they are also fitted with microphones so the operator can be warned should something be about to go wrong.
"If someone is behind that forklift and says, 'Hey, you're about to hit me,' the operator can hear it just like he's sitting on the forklift," he adds.