Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have been in manufacturing and warehouse facilities for decades, but recent demand for these solutions as well as newer autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) has skyrocketed. In fact, a new report by Interact Analysis, Austin, Texas, forecasts double-digit growth in the mobile robot over the next five years from $1 billion in 2017 to $7 billion in 2022. Related software is predicted to add another $3 billion to this total.

The Amazon effect
The proliferation of e-commerce and omni-channel retailing is driving huge demand for automation. The current labor shortage in manufacturing and supply chains also adds to the pressure to automate.

Automation, like mobile robots, can help firms meet the demands of shifting consumer buying habits that require the efficient shipment of more low-volume, high-mix products.

Infrastructure-free robots to be the norm
The report also projects that infrastructure-free robots will become mainstream by 2022, accounting for 73% of total revenues. Logistics is the fastest growing vertical for mobile robots.