Mobile Robotics: Driving Growth in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery

Mobile robots have seen significant growth in recent years, thanks to advancements in robotics technology, autonomous navigation, and artificial intelligence. According to a market research report by IDTechEx titled “Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery 2024-2044,” the emerging logistics mobile robot industry is being influenced by technical, regulatory, and market factors.

The report highlights the substantial increase in funding for various types of mobile robots from 2015 to 2022. This indicates the potential of mobile robots to automate logistics operations such as material handling, picking, long-haul distribution, and last-mile delivery. While some applications like automated guided vehicle (AGV) material transport have reached a mature stage, others like drone delivery face regulatory constraints and technological challenges that may delay widespread deployment until the end of the decade.

Despite varying levels of market readiness, each segment of the mobile robot industry is experiencing rapid growth. This is evident from technology giants acquiring start-up companies, such as the acquisition of Robotnik by United Robotics Group, Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, and the merger of Mobile Industrial Robots with AutoGuide Mobile Robots.

IDTechEx’s report provides an analysis of key products used in logistics operations, including AGVs, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), case-picking robots, mobile manipulators, heavy load autonomous mobile vehicles (AMVs), and last-mile delivery robots. The report also examines recent technology advancements, such as Amazon’s fully autonomous mobile robot, Proteus, which is expected to drive the adoption of AMRs in warehouses.

The report delves into the technological advancements that underpin the growth of mobile robots, including sensors like LiDAR, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras, as well as software such as computer vision, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and other navigation and sensing technologies. IDTechEx interviewed industry players to discuss their technologies’ unique value propositions, regulatory approvals, funding status, and latest flagship products.

One significant transition identified in the report is the shift from AGVs to AMRs. While AGVs rely on infrastructures like magnetic tapes and markers, AMRs utilize SLAM technology, which offers greater flexibility and lower infrastructure costs. The report analyzes both AGVs and AMRs and provides insights into the scenarios where each robot type is favorable to users.

With a 20-year market forecast, IDTechEx predicts that the mobile robotics market in logistics will reach around US$150 billion, providing significant opportunities for component suppliers, robot OEMs, and end-users. This forecast is based on granular breakdowns by application area and product categories.

The growing presence of mobile robots in logistics is transforming the industry, offering efficiency, flexibility, and cost savings. As advancements continue to drive adoption, mobile robots are poised to reshape the future of logistics and delivery.

Sources: IDTechEx – “Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing and Delivery 2024-2044” (source article)