Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing and Delivery 2022-2042

Mobile robots can be an excellent solution to many issues in the logistics industry. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of major players, technologies, and markets, 20-year market forecasts, and abundant product examples of 14 different forms of mobile robots in logistics. It will help readers have a deeper understanding of the current market landscape, how the technologies are used, the technology trend, and the future market outlook.
Automation in the warehousing and logistics chain is a growing market. A particularly exciting subset of this is the use of mobile robots, autonomous vehicles, and drones for automation of movement-based tasks. This field encompasses all manner of mobile robotic devices used in logistics, such as robotic carts/vehicles, on-road autonomous trucks, and drones, which help goods in their journey from origin to destination. This report finds that the market for mobile robots (including trucks and drones) in logistics, delivery and warehousing is likely to reach a staggering $83 and $334 Billion in 2032 and 2042, respectively.
This report provides a comprehensive analysis of major players, technologies, and markets. It covers relatively mature and emerging logistics mobile robotic products including different forms of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), grid-based automated guided carts (grid-based carts), case-picking robots, mobile manipulators, heavy-duty level-4 autonomous trucks, last mile autonomous delivery vans, robots and drones.
This report provides technology roadmaps and twenty-year market forecasts in market revenue, for all the technologies outlined above (14 forecast lines). The forecasts are built as a twenty-year model because IDTechEx’s technology roadmap suggests that these changes will take place over long timescales. In IDTechEx’s detailed forecasts the different stages of market growth are clearly explained, and the key assumptions/conditions as well as data points that underpin the model are outlined.
Furthermore, the report has detailed analysis about key technologies used in mobile robotics (e.g., navigation), typically used sensors and predictions of technological trend. In addition, it includes the most recent regulatory changes on autonomous driving related products (e.g., autonomous trucks, autonomous delivery vans, etc.) and anticipates the key timepoints and trends for deregulations. Our technology assessments and regulation predictions feed directly into our market forecast model, governing the adoption timescales and the estimated technology market share evolutions.
IDTechEx further provides investment/trend analysis, always seeking to put each technology within its greater quantitative as well as qualitative context. Also included are company interviews/profiles/updates. Company profiles and interviews provide valuable insight on company positioning, strategy, opportunities, and challenges, more than 25 of which can also be found on our subscription portal for more details, as IDTechEx has either interviewed or carried out deep research with these companies.
Intralogistics mobile robots
For a long time, automated guide carts and vehicles (AGC and AGV) have been in use. They are infrastructure dependent, their installation is time-consuming, and their workflow is difficult to adapt. Consequently, as a technology, they are on relatively shaky ground, because the technology is evolving towards more autonomous and infrastructure-independent navigation. But they are more reliable in terms of transporting heavy loads for a long distance. Therefore, we forecast their market will have a healthy growth in the following years but start to decrease between 2032-2037 (depending on product forms). They will increasingly become confined to ever narrower market niches.
One very bright spot for automated robots is in goods-to-person grid-based automated carts (grid-based AGCs) for fulfilment centres and large warehouses. Special robot-only zones are created within warehouses in which these robot fleets move racks at high speeds to a manned picking station, leading to clear and proven productivity gains. This will be a fast-growing market space by 2030.
The navigation technology is transitioning from automated to autonomous, enabled by better SLAM algorithms. With no additional requirements on building infrastructure or changing the environment, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can save more cost and time, being easier to scale the fleet and to be adopted flexibly. We assess that the market for such will continuously grow by 2042. There have also been more prominent investments and acquisitions on this technology in recent years.
Mobile picking robots
Picking technology is an essential component of logistics automation. Today, many companies focus on multi-layer case picking robots that pick and handle multiple regularly shaped boxes or totes with their telescopic forks or vacuum grippers for “carton-to-person” working mode. The similarities and differences between this mode and “shelf-to-person” one of grid-based AGCs have been thoroughly discussed in the report. There are also a few companies having integrated robotic manipulators on mobile platforms for picking irregularly shaped complex items, but the picking performance is very limited yet. We forecast case-picking robots will dominate the market for a long time and the market growth speed for mobile manipulators will only accelerate after 2035.
Heavy-duty level-4 trucking
The major pain points nowadays in the trucking industry, and especially long-haul trucking, include high operation cost, driver management and safety. Implementing high-level autonomous heavy-duty trucks can well address those pain points, and potentially can improve the safety during driving. According to known recent regulatory changes and information about level-4 autonomous truck pre-orders, IDTechEx anticipate the market revenue will start to be largely generated in 2025.
Autonomous last mile delivery robotic products
Autonomous last mile delivery is also an emerging market. There are mainly three forms of products – autonomous delivery vans, sidewalk robots and autonomous delivery drones. Last mile delivery is the most expensive part of delivering a parcel. Autonomous last mile delivery solutions, however, can hugely save the cost and improve the delivery efficiency in a more ecological way. It is estimated that implementing autonomous last mile delivery solutions can potentially save 55% of current costs in the short-term, and may save over 80% in the long-term future.
Autonomous delivery vans and sidewalk robots are both ground-based delivery solutions. Most of them are electrically powered and drive at a relatively slow speed in limited known neighbourhood areas, which ease the technological burden of perceiving in a long range and constructing maps in real time. Compared to sidewalk robots, the vans have large room and longer battery life, able to deliver to multiple locations with more and heavier items; while sidewalk robots can be more easily formed to a larger fleet size and deliver to various customers simultaneously because the robot has a lower unit cost. Drone delivery, as a faster autonomous delivery option, now however faces more obstacles on technologies, regulations and infrastructure support. Based on our analysis and forecast, the autonomous delivery vans will be the mainstream product in last mile delivery, accounting for over 75% of ground-based solutions in 2042; on the other hand, drone delivery will have a smaller market and a later market take-off point.