It may still be a while before drones are safely moving large products through the air in distribution centers or to customers’ homes. But in the meantime, lightweight unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) are already being equipped with RFID-scanning technology to offer real-time inventory visibility in the warehouse.

PINC makes an autonomous, customizable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that can be deployed outside of regular working hours. PINC AIR (Aerial inventory robots) can be ordered by operators to perform automatic inventory checks throughout a facility and identify inventory in put-away locations. Resulting scans are uploaded to the cloud in an web application that can synchronize with the WMS or other inventory management systems.

Sensors and algorithms enable collision prevention and an intuitive design that enables it to adopt flight patterns to unique layouts and to navigate cluttered environments, according to the company.

“I think that drones are phenomenal. Using them in the warehouse environment is pure genius. Scanning, inventory checks, safety report, tracking and mapping are all very applicable and much needed,” Morgan said.