Cypher Robotics and Captis gain attention at Automate 2024

Cypher Robotics and Captis gain attention at Automate 2024

By Scott Simmie


Cypher Robotics was on the road this week. Specifically, the InDro-incubated company was at the big Automate 2024 show in Chicago. It’s North America’s largest robotics and automation event, and a conference that’s geared toward the industrial sector.

Looking for a robot that can pick and place? Move inventory off a truck and into a warehouse? How about an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) capable of lifting and moving even immensely heavy loads? You’ll find all of that – and more – here. There are even manipulators that can mix drinks or make you a fine cappuccino. It’s a showcase for the future (and even the present) of everything from manufacturing to the restaurant space. And it’s all in one place.

This short video provides a pretty good overview. Trust us, there’s a lot of robotics at this show.



If you follow the news from InDro on a regular basis (and who doesn’t?), you’ll likely recognise the Cypher Robotics name. The Ottawa-based company specialises in robotic solutions for cycle counting and inventory management at scale. InDro Robotics has an incubation agreement with Cypher Robotics, and assisted in the development and testing of its signature launch product – Captis.

Captis is a system that integrates an autonomous ground robot with a drone that’s attached to the base with a tether. That tether provides power for the drone and handles data between the drone and the ground robot. As the robot navigates even narrow warehouse aisles, the drone ascends to the various levels of stock on the shelves. That Robot Operating System- (ROS) based drone then scans any and all codes (it’s code-agnostic) on products as the robot works its way forward.

And the data? It’s instantly integrated into a company’s existing Warehouse Management System (WMS), WCS (Warehouse Control System) and WES (Warehouse Execution System) software. The power storage in the Captis base means autonomous missions can last up to five hours before the system returns to home for wireless recharging. This is a huge differentiator from solutions that count stock with a drone alone, since flight times are limited.

What’s more, Captis is also capable of autonomous RFID scanning, with the same data instantly loaded into those same management systems. So you can actually set Captis free on a showroom floor and it will find its way around using its own brains and sensors – all while counting stock.

“Operations managers and pretty much everyone on the floor understands how important it is for inventory to be accurate in their Warehouse Management System,” explains Stacey Connors, InDro’s Head of Strategic Initiatives. She was at Automate 2024 on behalf of Cypher Robotics.

“Organizations that want to make the right business decisions quickly need to be empowered with the data of what inventory they have on hand at any given time so they can pull quick triggers. ‘How much do we have and where is it? Do we want to sell product X to a reseller or distributor?’ Inventory accuracy and data are invaluable in making these decisions quickly,” says Connors.




Already, Cypher Robotics has forged some powerful partnerships in the industry. It has teamed up with AI fulfilment leaders GreyOrange, global telecommunications innovator Ericsson, and a leading Canadian retailer with several hundred retail locations across the country. (In fact, much of the testing and hardening of the Captis system took place in one of that partner’s massive warehouses.)

Cypher Robotics has also quickly gained attention. When Captis was displayed at the big Modex convention earlier this year, it gained significant buzz – and was even covered by the likes of TechCrunch. That’s not surprising, since Modex is a convention that focusses on automation within the supply chain. Though Automate 2024 had a broader focus, Captis once again attracted a lot of interest. Cypher Robotics was invited by Ericsson to share its display, which focussed on a wide range of robotic and IoT solutions that operate over 5G or private 5G networks – which Ericsson supplies. (Captis can also operate and transfer data over secure WiFi.)

Cypher Robotics Captis Automate 2024



The appeal of Captis is simple: It’s hands-free and highly accurate. It literally goes about and does its cycle counting or RFID scans on its own, working shifts of up to five hours before recharging. Most warehouses still rely on manual solutions, sending people out with hand-scanners to carry out what is a pretty dull and even potentially dangerous task. (Think of how high some of those warehouse stacks are.)

Attrition rates are high, because human beings get bored of highly repetitive tasks, especially if they’re intrinsically unrewarding. In one of the cases we looked at, a 1.2 million square foot warehouse that runs 24/7 has a human being scanning full-time on all three shifts, throughout the day and overnight. A single Captis unit can do all of this more efficiently and accurately, allowing those people to find more satisfying or meaningful work.

“It is a mundane job that is hard to keep people in because you train them and three months later they’re tired of counting so they move on. So labour attrition and retention is an issue, and human error in a mundane job is a reality,” explains Connors. “Cypher stands out from all of the solutions because just a single device is needed for even a million square foot warehouse.”




The other big feature of Captis is its ability to multi-task. Specifically, it can carry out precision 3D scans of industrial spaces in extraordinary resolution while it’s doing other work. These scans are valuable for planning, monitoring construction or renovations, simulations prior to adopting other technologies – even for creating plans to duplicate an entire facility.

“I’d say half of my conversations at Automate 2024 were around the ability of Captis to capture a precise, digital point cloud of their environment while it’s doing other tasks,” says Connors.

“A theme throughout the entire conference was how critical simulation is prior to or during the assessment or adoption of a new technology. And in order to have an accurate simulation, you need an accurate representation of the environment. Captis provides this.”

Before we wrap up, it’s worth mentioning that while the tethered drone and extraordinary run-times are key components of this system, some of the most complex magic is due to the robot’s autonomy stack. With its proprietary combination of hardware and software, Captis can be placed in a completely unfamiliar, GPS-denied environment and still get the job done.

“The secret sauce of our total solution is absolutely the embedded autonomy,” says Connors.


Below: Stacey Connors with Captis at the Modex show


Stacey Connors Captis MODEX



Automate 2024 is an important conference, showcasing the cutting-edge in industrial robotics right across the sector. It was the perfect venue to let interested parties know about Cypher Robotics and its Captis solution. It was also, yet again, validation of the Cypher Robotics value proposition and business plan.

“It’s great to see the excitement continue to build around Captis,” says Connors. “We’re grateful to our partners Ericsson for inviting us to display alongside them, and there’s no doubt 5G and private networks will play a role in this product’s future.”

And that future? It’s now.

“Cypher Robotics has tested and hardened its technology, and the company will soon be shipping its first orders.”

Interested in learning more? You can contact the Cypher Robotics team here.

Cypher Robotics Captis System Generates Buzz at #MODEX2024

Cypher Robotics Captis System Generates Buzz at #MODEX2024

By Scott Simmie


MODEX2024 is a wrap.

And, for Cypher Robotics and its newly released Captis system for cycle counting and precision industrial scanning, the conference was an unmitigated success.

MODEX is one of the world’s preeminent supply chain automation shows. It’s held on alternating years with ProMat – much like the Farnborough International Air Show and the Paris–Le Bourget Air Show. The two supply chain shows attract something like 50,000 global buyers, so they’re really big.

It was at MODEX in Atlanta that Cypher Robotics, a company incubated by InDro Robotics, revealed its new solution. Captis integrates an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) with tethered drone technology for inventory cycle counting. The Captis base can autonomously navigate even narrow warehouse aisles without any infrastructure changes. As it moves down the aisle, a drone ascends from its nest atop the AMR, with a tether attached to the Captis base. That drone can scan any type of code on the box of the products (it’s code-agnostic).

And that tether? It’s a pipeline for both secure data and power. Data captured by the drone reaches the base in realtime, and is instantly uploaded and integrated with the facility’s existing Warehouse Management System (WMS), WCS (Warehouse Control System) and WES (Warehouse Execution System) software. Ample power storage in Captis means autonomous missions can last up to five hours before the system returns to base for a wireless recharge.

What’s more, the Captis system is also capable of RFID scanning and even precise industrial scanning for 2D and 3D digital twins. (These are major additional features, which we’ll be exploring in detail in forthcoming posts.)

We wrote about Cypher Robotics and its product launch here. But we’ve since had a chance to speak with the InDro team that assisted with that launch. InDro Vice President Peter King and Head of Strategic Initiatives Stacey Connors were in Atlanta, working with partners (and AI-fulfilment experts) GreyOrange and global telecommunications innovator Ericsson, which can easily set up private 5G networks in warehouses for ultra-secure data protection and throughput.

The verdict? Captis was a hit.

Below: Stacey Connors with Captis and GreyOrange at MODEX 2024. There’s a reason she looks so happy…


Stacey Connors Captis MODEX



The Supply Chain sector is going through something of an automation revolution. At every step of the way, robotics and software are being used to make these processes more efficient – and reduce the burden on human beings normally assigned to the tedious tasks of physically moving products or scanning by hand during cycle counting. There’s been a growing and global shift toward using robotics wherever possible.

“MODEX is getting more and more technical,” says InDro Vice President Peter King. “More and more robotic solutions are taking over that show. Alternatives to the traditional methods of supply chain operations are growing fast. Increasingly, companies are interested in automated ways of loading and unloading trucks, picking and placing objects, bringing inventory into the warehouse – and cycle counting.”

On that last issue, cycle counting and inventory management, King says many at MODEX2024 “identified this as a monster of an issue.”

One of the companies King spoke with at the show uses 26 full-time employees to do manual scanning in its six 750,000 square foot warehouses. It’s boring work, and expensive.

Obviously, there’s got to be a better and more efficient way. Deplying the Captis system would allow those 26 people to be reassigned more satisfying work.




There are already some solutions that implement drones for cycle counting. In fact, King says many of those interested in Captis had explored the possibility of drone-only solutions. But, he says, the short flight times between recharging and other issues have led many to seek a more comprehensive option with longer mission times.

That’s a key ingredient in the Captis secret sauce. By fully integrating a tether-based drone with the Captis AMR nest, Cypher Robotics has created a “drobot” (apologies to Skyland players) capable of scanning inventory in a medium-sized warehouse in a single go.

And that capability…has created a lot of interest.

“Captis really blew it out of the water,” says King. “We were the Belle of the Ball.”

There were two Captis systems on display at the show. One was with the GreyOrange exhibit and the second was at Ericsson’s booth. Head of Strategic Initiatives Connor was hearing the same stories – and seeing the same enthusiasm over Captis – as King.

Most organizations invested in consideration of drone technology for cycle counting within the past two years,” she says, “but concluded the payback and accuracy was not justifiable given the short run time of 10-15 mins per drone.

“So when they recognized this problem has been solved by Cypher’s tethered AMR, the excitement was obvious. Jaws dropped at the five-hour run time – and that no additional infrastructure was needed.”

Below: A lineup of potential clients waiting to discuss Captis at MODEX2024. You can just make out the back of Peter King’s head to the right of the robot. 

Captis MODEX2024



Cypher Robotics is an Ottawa-based company devoted to using robotics to gain efficiencies in the Supply Chain sector.

According to its website, “Cypher Robotics is modernizing warehouse operations with autonomous technologies that are replacing mundane and labour-intensive job functions. We are committed to delivering robotics solutions that are simple to integrate into an existing warehouse ecosystem, immediately providing an ROI for the operation.”

InDro Robotics could see the growing demand for this kind of solution, and invested in Captis. The two companies also signed an incubation agreement, whereby InDro was able to assist with engineering expertise for the development of the Captis system.

“With Captis, our fully autonomous cycle counting solution, manual cycle counts become a thing of the past. By enhancing operational margins and improving inventory accuracy, Captis significantly boosts efficiency,” continues the Cypher Robotics site.

“Cypher Precision Scan enables us to assist customers in eliminating the labour-intensive task of updating CAD files for scenario planning. Precision Scan offers a fully autonomous solution, efficiently capturing highly accurate digital twins of facilities, empowering better business decisions.”




The global automation for supply chain automation is huge. One company, Precedence Research, estimates this sector was worth $58B US globally in 2022, and predicts it will rise to an astonishing $196.01B by 2032. Companies are looking at using automation wherever it can be implemented for speed, efficiency and accuracy.

Why the sudden push? Well, the global COVID19 pandemic was part of it. Remember all the issues with the Supply Chain during the first year in particular? Well, it was triggered because many people carrying out the manual work in the supply chain weren’t on the job, or were at significantly lower numbers. This coincided with the rise in automated solutions. Soon, technology companies were offering faster and better ways of cycle counting and physically moving product using robotic solutions.

Identifying that demand was the genesis of Cypher Robotics.

In addition to cycle counting, Captis has a separate “crown” or dome that can be placed on the AMR when the tethered drone is not in use. That dome contains RFID sensors, meaning Captis can automously navigate a showroom, for example, and capture all inventory on a regular basis. It’s also capable of precision-level scanning of facilities, uploading updated data for digital twins. For potential clients, these multiple capabilities ticked a lot of boxes.

“I know Peter used this phrase, but we truly did feel like the Belle of the Ball,” says Connors. “The high volume of activity and interest around Captis continued to flow all week.”

King, who is also a veteran of many conferences over the years, described this as his “best” conference ever.

Anytime I told people that we didn’t want to disrupt their workflow, they lost their minds,” he says. “There was honestly nobody else at the show that had this kind of solution, and there’s incredible pent-up demand for precisely what Captis offers.”

Cypher Robotics Captis



InDro Robotics has watched Cypher Robotics and its Captis system take shape over the past two years. It’s been a very methodical process, with an eye on a comprensive and integrated solution for industry-at-large.

The result, Captis, is the first made-in-North America solution we are aware of that combines tethered drone technology (to reach those *really* high bins) with an Autonomous Mobile Robot. The company has a major Canadian retailer (with more than 300 locations across Canada) as a partner, and carried out R&D and testing for many months in its warehouses to perfect the solution.

“We’re pleased with the tremendous interest Captis generated at MODEX2024,” says InDro Robotics CEO and Cypher Robotics early investor Philip Reece.

“It took a lot of engineering to create this solution, and I’m proud of the assistance InDro was able to provide Cypher Robotics. Captis is a unique solution – and, based on the interest at MODEX2024, is going to be a huge success.”

You can learn more about Cypher Robotics, including contact info, here.

Cypher Robotics announces Captis – a new solution for industrial scanning

Cypher Robotics announces Captis – a new solution for industrial scanning

By Scott Simmie


Perhaps you’ve already seen the news.

A new Canadian tech company, Cypher Robotics, has unveiled a groundbreaking solution for inventory cycle counting and precision scanning at the industrial level. The company made its announcement at MODEX2024, one of the premiere global conferences for the supply chain ecosystem. The company also announced key partnerships with AI-driven fulfilment experts GreyOrange and global telecommunications innovator Ericsson. In addition, Cypher revealed it has partnered with an as-yet unnamed Canadian retail giant with more than 300 locations.

The system integrates an autonomous ground robot with tethered drone technology, allowing for scanning missions lasting some five hours in duration between charging. Data is uploaded in realtime to existing Warehouse Management System (WMS), WCS (Warehouse Control System) and WES (Warehouse Execution System) software. What’s more, the system can navigate even tight aisles autonomously without any infrastructure changes.

So why is InDro keen on sharing this news? We’ll get to that.

First, have a look at how it works:



If you guessed InDro has a strong connection with Cypher Robotics, you were correct.

InDro Robotics has an incubator agreement with Cypher, and helped to develop this product. InDro is also an investor in the company.

“This is the future of warehouse robotics,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece, who has founded or co-founded multiple successful companies in the robotics, drone and R&D spaces.

“It completely eliminates the dull and repetitive task of scanning by hand, freeing up employees to do more satisfying work. It also frees up or eliminates the need for equipment like modified forklifts that have been previously required for the task.”

Reece was quoted in a news release launching Cypher Robotics and its flagship solution, which is called Captis.

Here’s a look at the system. The tethered drone ascends vertically from the Captis base, scanning product as the ground robot moves seamlessly down aisles as narrow as five feet (1.524 metres).

Below: The Captis system integrates a Robot Operating System (ROS) based drone with an autonomous ground robot


Cypher Robotics Captis



More detailed information about Cypher Robotics and Captis was revealed in the following news release:

(ATLANTA): Cypher Robotics today unveiled a new standard for efficient and accurate cycle counting scanning for industry at MODEX2024 – one of the sector’s leading annual global conferences. The company also revealed partnerships with AI-driven automation leaders GreyOrange and technology company Ericsson, plus a leading Canadian retailer.

Incubated by Canada’s InDro Robotics, Cypher calls its solution ‘The Future of Warehouse Robotics’, and here’s why: It combines both aerial and ground robotics technology into a single, integrated package.

That solution is called Captis – an autonomous ground vehicle that can find its way around warehouses all on its own. It won’t bump into people or objects, and requires no infrastructure changes. When it’s time for cycle counting, it uses drone technology attached to the ground robot with a tether – used to power the drone and for realtime data transfer. The drone ascends vertically and begins scanning products (it’s code-agnostic) as the Captis base navigates its way down even-narrow corridors.

Based in Ottawa, Cypher Robotics has a specialised engineering team and state-of-the-art fabrication. Comprehensive, real-world testing has been carried out over several months in partnership with a major Canadian retailer that has more than 300 locations across the country.

The system can capture data with 99.9 per cent accuracy autonomously for up to five hours per mission. That data is automatically integrated with existing Warehouse Management System (WMS), WCS (Warehouse Control System) and WES (Warehouse Execution System) software. Captis eliminates the costs associated with manual cycle counts, improves inventory accuracy, and ensures seamless timeline replenishment while avoiding both over- and under-stocking items.

What’s more, Captis can simultaneously carry out highly detailed precision scans of infrastructure (more on this in the future).

Sound technologically complex? It is. But it’s also a breeze to operate. 

“Captis is completely a hands-off product,” says Philip Reece, who has founded or co-founded multiple successful companies in the robotics, drone and R&D spaces. Those include InDro Robotics, the Canadian leader in ground and aerial robotics R&D, which has also invested in Cypher Robotics.

“When we say this is ‘the future of warehouse robotics’, we mean it. It completely eliminates the dull and repetitive task of scanning by hand, freeing up employees to do more satisfying work. It also frees up or eliminates the need for equipment like modified forklifts that have been previously required for the task.”

Cypher has partnered with warehouse fulfilment experts GreyOrange and global telco innovator Ericsson.

“The Captis autonomous cycle counting solution is powered by GreyOrange’s GreyMatter, our fulfillment orchestration platform,” says Akash Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, GreyOrange. “We are excited that Cypher Robotics has joined GreyOrange’s Certified RangerTM Network (CRN) ecosystem. Cypher’s Captis solution is a great option for companies new to automation and robotics to begin leveraging such tech since only one bot is needed per warehouse on average.”

Manish Tiwari, Head of Private Cellular Networks, Ericsson Business Area Enterprise Wireless Solution says: “Captis is an innovative solution that listens to the industry’s needs and efficiently answers them. Being connected to Ericsson Private 5G allows Captis to traverse warehouses while maintaining consistent connectivity which ensures the safety of employees and devices. The low latency of the connection allows for immediate validation of data and the ability to re-capture it to maintain accuracy. The solution ensures that the organization’s data is protected throughout the process.  Ericsson is looking forward to continued collaboration and innovation with Cypher that will help our customers’ digitalization efforts.”

Below: Captis is built for scanning and is code-agnostic. Barcodes, QR codes and more are scanned autonomously and the data instantly integrated with existing warehouse management software

Cypher Robotics Captis



We are obviously excited about this announcement. The supply chain is a huge sector, and the automation of the supply chain is growing rapidly. Cypher Robotics believes this is the first system manufactured in North America to integrate aerial and ground robotics in a single solution.

“It’s been a very satisfying process to see Cypher Robotics develop Captis with incubation assistance from us,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece.

“It was already a technologically challenging build to create a ground robot that can navigate tight spaces autonomously in an unfamiliar setting. Combining that with drone technology adds a whole other level of complexity. We’re pleased that InDro was able to assist with incubation and look forward to seeing where Captis goes.”

In addition to cycle counting, the Captis system also has Precision Scanning capabilities. It can provide updated 2D and 3D digital twins as it carries out its other work, empowering operations with a digital environment for scenario planning. It’s also capable of RFID scanning.

More on these other significant features…to come.

InDro Robotics takes in NRF’s “Big Show”

InDro Robotics takes in NRF’s “Big Show”

By Scott Simmie


InDro Robotics just took in NRF 2024 in New York. And it was, as the National Retail Federation promised, “Retail’s Big Show.”

Many of the world’s largest retailers (along with plenty of smaller ones) were at the event, which is one of the biggest and most important conferences for the retail sector on the planet.

And while many of us might think of retail and its supply chain as consisting of storefronts, warehouses, manufacturing and the transport of goods, there’s a tremendous amount of technology going on behind the scenes. The use of that technology – including various forms of automation and robotics – is growing. That’s why we attended.

“I was here on behalf of InDro to identify in the retail space where the gaps are, and where hardware fits into that – how physical robots can complement some of the solutions that are offered,” explains Stacey Connors, Head of Strategic Innovations (and the happy person pictured above).

Here’s a quick overview of the event:



It really is a big show. Some 6,000 retailers from around the world take part, with more than 1,000 companies exhibiting. About 35,000 people attended the event, which this year had a heavy focus on technologies that can offer new efficiencies through every step of the retail process: Manufacturing, supply chain management, inventory control – you name it.

Most retailers, says Connors, rely heavily on software throughout that process. Highly automated systems like Amazon distribution centres are known as “dark warehouses” – because you could simply turn the lights off and most of the processes would keep on running.

For an example of just how automated some systems are, check out the video below. This system was built more than five years ago:




Pretty impressive system, right? But that’s the exception.

“The reality – and what a lot of publications like McKinsey will justify – is that 80+ per cent of the warehouses are ‘brown fields’ where there’s limited automation at all,” says Connors.

Making that transition toward more automation isn’t always a snap.

“You’re asking an existing environment to upgrade everything, change all the infrastructure. Is the width of the aisles suitable for multiple robots? Is the lighting adequate for scanning barcodes or QR codes? Is the software built to integrate with different autonomous devices?”

There are companies that are specializing, at least on the software side, in helping with that transition. SVT Robotics, for example, makes software (SoftBot) for the integration of autonomous machines with existing inventory management/supply chain software. Depending on warehouse architecture, robots can sometimes be added with minimal infrastructure changes.

And then there are manufacturers and retailers building new “green field” warehouses – where they design a new facility from the ground up that takes existing robotics technologies into account.

“When you’re building a whole new warehouse, all of these automations are very viable,” says Connors.




This isn’t the first piece of the puzzle that Connors has been examining in the retail supply chain world. She’s been immersed in this sector for much of the past year, taking in major conferences like Promat, the world’s largest gathering focussed on supply chain automation. She attended Boston’s Robotics Summit & Expo as well as IROS in Detroit. Synergically, they help form a Big Picture. Connors says the NRF retail show filled in an important gap.

“This is the other piece – how it impacts the front end, the end sale, and revenue generation. So it was a different lens to look at how robotics impacts the whole chain.”

But why so much interest in this?

We’ll have much more to say on this soon. But InDro has been hard at work on a new solution we believe will offer huge efficiencies for companies with large warehouses – and even for front-end retail operations. It is a radically new kind of solution, and we can’t wait to share it.

What we can tell you is that InDro is excited to have forged a partnership with Scanbot – a leader in barcode scanning and data capture. Scanbot’s SDK (Software Development Kit) will play an important role in our new product, and we’re pleased to be on board with them.

The success of our new venture hinges on seamless integration with existing software and operating systems,” says Connors.

“Scanbot is the clear leader in this field, and offers precisely the SDK for the job. We’re excited to be working with them.”

Below: Stacey Connors and our new Scanbot partners during the NRF show



Stacey and Scanbot



As you know by now, InDro is an R&D company. Frequently, clients come to us seeking solutions that don’t yet exist. And often, we identify problems in need of solutions. In both cases, we invent/develop new products. We are particularly inclined to develop and refine new products when we see a significant void in the marketplace.

“Inventory management is a huge untapped market,” says Stacey Connors. “Robotics and automation can offer massive efficiencies, particularly if they can be integrated into existing warehouses and showrooms without significant infrastructure changes.

“This is an area where we have been deeply focused on a solution – one we look forward to unveiling in the very near future. Trust me, there’s nothing like it out there.”

Stay tuned.