313 million dollars has been invested by venture capitalists in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for use in material handling in the last several years. An autonomous mobile robot is a vehicle that requires no change to a facilities infrastructure to implement and operate. Often, these vehicles are led around a facility and then create a map of the facility that is followed subsequently.
There are two types of AMRs. Path AMRs are more flexible forms of automated guided vehicles that move goods from an origin to a destination. Pick AMRs have logic that supports optimized picking, often in an ecommerce fulfillment center. Path AMRs currently have a bigger share of the market, but Pick AMRs have received more than 60 percent of the venture capital investments, and the percentage is much higher if you focus on investments made in the last two years. And while the Path AMR segment of the market will grow at double digit rates, the Pick AMR segment will grow more than two times faster than the Path segment.
To succeed, Pick AMRs need strong process optimization and defensible process patents. One firm I am paying close attention to is NextShift Robotics.
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