Viewers of the BBC’s Blue Peter programme were able to enjoy a demonstration by the world’s first cycling robot, thanks to a last minute, cross-Europe emergency delivery
Murata Electronics UK Ltd., the British subsidiary of Japanese electronics giant Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd, faced an opportunity and a challenge last month when long-running BBC children’s programme Blue Peter contacted it to ask whether its MURATA BOY, the world’s first autonomous cycling robot, could appear on an edition of the show. Murata was delighted to oblige, but MURATA BOY, designed as a demonstrator of the company’s range of automotive sensor and control technologies, was working at a technical trade fair in Munich, Germany, amazing an audience of German automotive engineers.
Getting the robot safely from Germany to the UK in time for filming seemed almost impossible. Fortunately, from their experience working with the UK automotive industry, the Murata team knew about Evolution Time Critical, the specialist emergency delivery company for the automotive sector. Evolution Time Critical’s expertise is in the shipping of components from suppliers to automotive production lines at the shortest possible notice. Its services are called upon every day by car makers and their suppliers to prevent costly production line stoppages caused by the late arrival of parts.
Within 15 minutes of a call from Murata, Evolution Time Critical’s controllers had established that a courier could collect the robot from the Munich exhibition centre late on Friday evening and drive it overnight to the UK to arrive at the BBC’s London studios at midday the next day, in time to meet the filming schedule.
Once Murata had agreed to the proposed schedule, the Evolution team swung into action, coordinating the entire process from its control centres in the UK and Germany to ensure that everything went according to plan. Regular phone calls and text messages kept the Murata team informed of the progress of the package, so they could continue their preparations for the BBC broadcast, confident that their precious cargo would arrive when expected.
“While our work keeping production lines going means we’ve been called upon to ship parts for industrial robots in the past, this is the first time we’ve ever had need to deliver anything like this,” says Evolution Time Critical’s managing director Brad Brennan. “It was great to be able to help Murata with such an exciting opportunity, and it was exciting for our staff too, as they could tell their children that they helped to deliver the robot that appeared on TV.”
“We are extremely grateful to everyone at Evolution Time Critical for their help with the shipment,” says Peter Welford, Logistics and Quality Manager at Murata UK. “Just as MURATA BOY is a fantastic demonstration of our technical capabilities, so this delivery is a great demonstration of Evolution Time Critical’s ability to get parts across Europe quickly, safely and accurately.”
MURATA BOY was designed and built by Murata as a demonstration of its expertise in robust sensor and control technology. The 50cm tall, 5kg robot can ride along a narrow beam, remain in a stationary balanced position and even cycle backwards to avoid obstacles. A network of gyros, shock sensors and ultrasonic distance detectors allow MURATA BOY to balance, cycle and navigate autonomously in complex, cluttered environments, even over bumpy surfaces. While the application is unique, all the sensors that MURATA BOY uses are commercial items found in such applications as vehicle body control and computer hard disc protection.
About Evolution Time Critical
Evolution Time Critical is exclusively dedicated to the provision of emergency logistics solutions for the automotive industry. Its expertise helps clients to overcome supply problems caused by manufacturing issues, scheduling changes or conventional transport delays, keeping production lines running and customers delighted.
Evolution Time Critical manages the full range of critical delivery modes, including aircraft charter, helicopters, onboard couriers, a dedicated 100 aircraft night freighter service covering 70 European airports, scheduled aircraft, and rapid road transport with local vehicles.
Over the past six years, Evolution Time Critical has worked miracles for many of the World’s leading automotive OEMs, and numerous first and second tier suppliers.
A high speed delivery, organised by emergency logistics specialist Evolution Time Critical , ensured that Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd.’s MURATA BOY cycling robot made it from Germany to the UK in time to appear on the BBC’s Blue Peter programme.
Brad Brennan, Managing Director
Evolution Time Critical
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