Autonomous Mobile Robots

Rise of the Robots: Autonomous Mobile Robots are Transforming Industries


Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have become increasingly common in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, hospitals and other industries around the world. These robots are equipped with sensors and software that allow them to navigate complex environments without human guidance. As AMR technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, more companies are realizing the benefits that robotics automation can provide.

What are Autonomous Mobile Robots?

Autonomous Mobile Robot, sometimes called self-driving robots or automated guided vehicles, are robots that can navigate environments and perform tasks without human guidance or control. They have various sensors like cameras, sonar, lasers and lidar that allow them to safely “see” and map their surroundings. Advanced software and algorithms then use this sensor data to help the robots plan paths, avoid obstacles and navigate autonomously.

Several key characteristics define autonomous mobile robots. They can move around freely on wheels or other locomotion systems in 2D or 3D environments like factories, warehouses, hospitals and more. They are capable of autonomous navigation without live human supervision or remote control. And they can be equipped with robotic arms, grippers or other end-of-effectors to perform useful tasks like transporting materials, assembling products and more.

Impact on Manufacturing

Manufacturing facilities have been quickly adopting autonomous mobile robots to automate material transport and other logistics tasks. AMRs are helping manufacturers increase productivity by reducing costs, improving flexibility and accelerating production timelines.

Autonomous forklifts and tow tractors are revolutionizing warehouse operations by transporting loads of raw materials, parts and finished goods between staging areas and production lines 24/7. This allows factories to maximize space utilization and throughput. Robotic transport is also safer than having human operators working around heavy machinery.

On the factory floor, AMRs equipped with grippers serve as autonomous kitting assistants that fetch and deliver components for assembly stations. This just-in-time delivery of parts helps eliminate wasted motion, reduces assembly errors and improves overall line efficiency. Mobile robots also autonomously conduct quality inspections of products moving down the line.

Transforming Healthcare Delivery

Hospitals are deploying autonomous mobile platforms to enhance patient care, streamline workflows and reduce costs. Autonomous transport robots deliver meals, medications and lab samples directly to patients’ bedsides contactless. This reduces waiting times and improves medication adherence.

AMRs are also assisting nurses. Robotic carts autonomously transport medical equipment, supplies and waste between patient rooms and centralized utility areas. This frees up nursing time for more critical duties. Mobile dispensing robots equipped with lockers are delivering the right medications to the right patients at the right time throughout hospitals 24/7.

Autonomous Mobile Robots in Retail and Hospitality

Retail and hospitality industries are utilizing AMRs to enhance the customer experience. Autonomous delivery robots transport food orders from kitchens to tables in some restaurants and autonomous carts deliver room service orders in some hotels. Retail stores are deploying AMRs to scan shelves, identify out of stock items and route that data to employees for restocking.

Future of Autonomous Mobile Robotics

As AMR capabilities continue to evolve rapidly with advances in sensing, mapping, object recognition, path planning and edge computing, new innovative uses cases are emerging across industries on a regular basis. Expert predict autonomous delivery robots will become common in our cities delivering packages to our doorsteps over the next 5 years. Autonomous yard trucks may soon transport sea containers between ports and warehouses.

While issues around safety, data privacy and job disruption still need to be addressed, autonomous mobile robots have already demonstrated potential to revolutionize logistics operations, enhance productivity and improve quality of service across many sectors of the economy. As costs come down and capabilities scale up through artificial intelligence and 5G networks, autonomous robotics adoption will likely expand into many new fields that have yet to be imagined. The autonomous mobile robotics industry is still in its early stages but will continue to transform many areas of business and society in the years to come.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it