Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery: A Growing Industry

The mobile robotics industry has 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 market for mobile robots in logistics is expanding rapidly.

The report highlights the increasing funding being directed towards mobile robots, specifically in areas such as mobile picking, intralogistics, and material handling. This investment underscores the potential of mobile robots to automate various aspects of logistics operations, including material handling, picking, long-haul distribution, and last-mile delivery.

While some applications, like material transport using automated guided vehicles (AGVs), have already reached a mature stage and are generating substantial revenue, others are still emerging. Drone delivery, for example, is expected to see widespread deployment towards the end of the decade due to regulatory constraints and technological challenges.

Various technology giants have recognized the potential of mobile robotics and have made strategic acquisitions in the field. Amazon, for instance, acquired iRobot, while United Robotics Group acquired Robotnik. Additionally, Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) merged with AutoGuide Mobile Robots. These acquisitions highlight the growing importance of mobile robotics in the logistics industry.

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

The report delves into the technology behind mobile robots, analyzing components such as LiDAR, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras, as well as software like computer vision and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). IDTechEx interviewed industry players to understand their technologies’ unique value propositions and how they address pain points.

One notable transition identified in the report is the shift from AGVs to AMRs. While AGVs rely on infrastructure like magnetic tapes and QR codes for navigation, AMRs leverage SLAM technology, enabling more flexibility and reducing setup costs. Amazon’s Proteus is an example of an AMR used in warehouses.

Looking ahead, IDTechEx forecasts that the mobile robotics market in logistics will reach approximately $150 billion annually, creating significant opportunities for component suppliers, robot OEMs, and end-users. The report provides a 20-year market forecast, breaking down the market by application area and product categories.

In summary, the mobile robotics industry in logistics and warehousing is experiencing rapid growth. Advances in technology, increased funding, and strategic acquisitions have contributed to this expansion. While some applications are already mature and generating substantial revenue, others are emerging and face regulatory and technological challenges. However, the overall outlook for mobile robotics in logistics is promising, with significant market potential in the coming years.

– IDTechEx’s market research report, “Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery 2024-2044”.
– IDTechEx company interviews and analysis.