Mar 2 | 5 min read

Locus Robotics: Increasing Warehouse Productivity and Throughput with Aila

Aila's iOS-based scanning technology helps Locus scan 45+ 1D/2D barcodes in an array of conditions, helping thousands of workers deliver higher pick rates

Aila Staff

Locus Robotics designs and builds innovative autonomous mobile robots that work collaboratively with workers in the fast-paced retail, logistics, and omnichannel fulfillment industries.

LocusBots significantly improve fulfillment by processing more orders faster with higher accuracy compared to traditional cart-based fulfillment methods and without the need to reconfigure the warehouse or disrupt operations.

  • Aila’s SoftScan for iOS and scanning kiosk


Driven by high-quality standards for their customers, Locus Robotics chose Aila to help solve the challenges of high-volume barcode scanning in complex conditions that occur in warehouses daily. From damaged and dirty barcodes to low contrast and high glare from clear plastic bags, Aila’s SoftScan delivered the unmatched scanning speed, reliability, and power that Locus Robotics was looking for.

Deploy an easy-to-integrate scanning solution into the LocusBot that could reliably capture a range of barcodes in various conditions. Aila’s SoftScan integrates into any iOS app and utilizes the native camera on iOS devices to scan 45+ 1D/2D symbologies, including difficult-to-read barcodes. Locus Robotics is able to retrieve the necessary information on any product in seconds, allowing thousands of warehouse employees to deliver higher pick rates.


Locus Robotics needed a better scanning solution to keep up with increasing productivity rate goals

To fulfill an order, a LocusBot travels the most efficient route to a designated item’s location in the warehouse. A worker must complete the pick and conduct validation to confirm the accuracy of the pick. That’s where Aila comes in.

With customers across a wide range of industries—including retail, medical, automotive and third-party logistics—the ability to easily and reliably scan barcodes in different lighting conditions, surfaces, substrates, and conditions was presenting a series of challenges to the scanning technology previously added to the LocusBot.

These included:

  • Scanning accuracy: Driven by high-quality standards of key customers like Toyota, scanning accuracy is key. Customers need to be sure that every item is scanned correctly
  • Data capture: The ability to easily scan 1D/2D and more when needed
  • Scale: Finding a solution that was able to scale alongside their deployments
  • Customization – Locus had unique needs that traditional scan engines simply couldn’t accommodate 

When Locus Robotics began looking for an enterprise-grade barcode scanning solution that could integrate with their LocusBot, they compared alternative scanning solutions that were available. In the end, only Aila’s scanning technology met their rigorous testing to win out as the most reliable and easy to integrate. With  Aila’s SDK, integration was simple and straightforward, allowing Locus Robotics to quickly integrate Aila’s scanning functionality into their LocusBot in a short amount of time. 


Integrated Scanning through Aila meets unique needs

SoftScan, the computer vision technology behind Aila’s scanning, harnesses the powerful camera on iOS devices for enterprise use cases. When integrated into Locus Robotics’ software, Aila provided an accurate and intuitive way for warehouse workers to confirm the accuracy of items picked to LocusBots. Workers just scan the item, confirm on the iPad, and the LocusBot travels to its next destination.

Aila TrueScan warehouse worker

If new products contain different or unique barcodes, Locus Robotics can easily enable up to 45 different 1D and 2D symbologies including OCR via Aila’s scanning. SoftScancan is also easily optimized to accommodate varying lighting conditions and scanning distances that may differ from warehouse to warehouse.

Aside from the deep camera control that SoftScan enables, the SDK also features a vision algorithm that increases performance with usage. This results in continually increased scanning performance on the LocusBots every time a barcode is scanned.


Fast, efficient, and precise barcode scanning Locus can rely on

With Aila’s integrated scanning solution, LocusBots everywhere are now able to retrieve the necessary information about any product within seconds regardless of the condition, lighting, glare, and position of the barcode — ensuring that nothing gets in the way of the speed and efficiency of fulfillment — or delivery from the warehouse.

This allows thousands of warehouse employees to deliver higher pick rates with near-perfect accuracy, even with multi-pick configurations. During the critical holiday season, the company announced record-breaking productivity numbers achieved in November 2019, delivering more than 13 million units picked on behalf of global retail and third party logistics customers. 

Workers can pick 2x-3x faster with near-100% accuracy and less labor, delivering higher productivity and a better workplace. Locus Robotics

Expanding and ready for the future

With Aila, Locus also found a scanning solution that was able to scale alongside their growing deployments and deliver consistent scanning performance and accuracy for years to come.

Now on the second generation of deployments with Aila on a new iPad, Locus Robotics doesn’t need to worry about scanning technology that ages in just a few short years. Apple devices are well known for being ahead of the technology curve while also offering industry-leading device support for 5 years on average. So, whether businesses decide to refresh their devices or just update the software their old ones, Aila’s scanning will remain current.

Aila's scanning kiosk on LocusBots

Built on iOS, Aila’s scanning technology is able to be regularly updated to allow for adding new symbologies and better performance, a capability that traditional scan engines just can’t provide. As Apple continues to roll out new devices in the coming years, it will continue to outperform Windows and Android-based alternatives. 

The Locus multi-bot system has been deployed to over 40 sites around the globe, generating millions of picks per day and helping fulfillment warehouse operations meet the growing e-commerce volume and significant labor shortages.

“Integrating Aila’s scanning technology into our LocusBots has been a great choice for Locus, significantly improving scan accuracy and speed to deliver substantial increases in worker productivity. The reliability, consistency, and cost-effectiveness of [Aila’s scanning] allows us to meet our demanding scanning needs now and into the future.” Sean Johnson, CTO, Locus Robotics

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