- 21, August 2018
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- Cargo, Logistic
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In 2012 Kiva, a supplier of mobile robots, was bought for $775 million by Amazon. That was a home run for the company which had estimated revenues of about $100 million at the time. Some entrepreneurs and venture capitalists believe, or at least argue, that autonomous mobile robots represent the next revolution in material handling. Automatic guided vehicles carry goods from one point to another in a warehouse or factory on predetermined paths. In contrast, autonomous mobile robots may have a preferred path to get from A to B, but can take alternative routes if there are obstacles or congestion. In addition, some AMRs are part of a larger warehouse picking process and they navigate themselves to multiple different locations to facilitate warehouse fulfillment. Because AMRs are capable of autonomous path selection, they are sometimes depicted as “smart,” while AGVs are “stupid.”
Investments in Autonomous Mobile Robots
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) can be applied to automated facility cleaning, analysis of on-shelf inventory, security, production inspection, and other tasks. But the focus of this article is AMRs – and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) – used for logistics applications. Investments in logistics AMRs are approaching $200 million, so clearly the venture capital community believes AMRs could be a smart investment.