The pros and cons of Autonomous Mobile Robots
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are self-driving robotic vehicles that can plan their routes to a given destination and navigate around obstacles. Their defining feature is building their own map of your facility and localizing themselves within it – completely autonomously.
The autonomy is their biggest strength and advantage; all of the benefits and advantages stem from AMRs autonomy – the flexibility, the scalability, the ease of implementation. And new advances in autonomy keep confirming their potential and competitive advantage.
But, we’re putting the cart in front of the robot. Let’s address the question that led you here.
Are autonomous mobile robots for you?
As with most choices in life, it is always wise to create a pros and cons list before making a decision.
This is why we’ve compiled this list of the positive and negative sides of using autonomous mobile robots. This way, you can get a quick overview and see if introducing AMRs into your business will elevate your processes and people or if, unfortunately, AMRs are not for you.
The incredible advancements in sensor technology and AI and machine learning have empowered AMRs to be the go-to solution for many industries and use cases. They will continue to do so as the list of the pros they bring to the table increases steadily.
1. AMRs require no guiding infrastructure
The self-driving capabilities enable AMRs to plan an optimal path to a given destination without relying on any guiding infrastructure such as magnetic tapes required by automated guided vehicles (AGV).
2. AMRs operate in unstructured environments
Thanks to their localization and mapping capabilities, AMRs are able to operate in hectic and unstructured environments – quickly adapting to equipment and materials moving around the facility.
3. AMRs can get around obstacles
Since AMRs do not rely on predetermined routes to get around your facility but instead navigate autonomously, they will not stop when they encounter an obstacle. They will find a way to get to their destination.
4. AMRs are scalable and flexible
Regardless of the workflow, AMRs can easily be reprogrammed to handle new routes, new warehouses, and even new workflows – without the need for robotics experts’ intervention.
5. Safe to work around people
The latest advancements in Robot Vision and AI have made it possible to have high levels of safety around people and people-operated vehicles. Additionally, with AMRs doing the hard work, the risk of injury is also significantly reduced.
As with all technology, there are often downsides. The most important thing is that there is always more good stuff than bad. And, when it comes to AMRs, the cons list has been getting shorter and shorter.
1. They may require additional infrastructure
Implementing autonomous mobile robots may require installing additional infrastructure such as pallet stands or something similar. Even though the infrastructure requirements are minimized, it is still something you should take into account.
2. They may require uniform Wi-Fi coverage
Autonomous mobile robots need data to be able to perform their work. Depending on the availability of 5G networks near your location, you may need to provide uniform Wi-Fi coverage throughout the facility.
The enticing bottom line
Autonomous mobile robots are truly flexible tools that can adapt to the most dynamic and hectic facilities. Their superior adaptability minimizes infrastructure requirements, installation costs, and downtime when changes are needed.
If you’re still not sure if they’re the solution for you, take a look at our e-book that covers all available warehouse automation. You will find an overview of market trends, available technologies, a comprehensive self-assessment checklist, and everything you need to know about material handling robots.