Logistics Robot, the Most Promising Field Among Professional Service Robots

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryRobots are already active in various fields such as manufacturing and service to upgrade our quality of life. Especially, with online shopping becoming popular, the expectation for logistics robots is increasing every day. Global corporates such as Google and Amazon have already adopted logistics robots in the field.

According to IFR, International Federation of Robotics, logistics robots are the most promising robots, accounting for 53% of professional service robots based on expected sales from 2016 to 2019.

Furthermore, as people who purchase goods on the Internet increase, the importance of logistics robots in a non-manufacturing environment has been increasing continuously as well. In 2015, the ratio between manufacturing environment and non-manufacturing environment for logistics robots was 17.9% to 82.1%. However, the ratio is expected to lean heavily towards the non-manufacturing environment for logistics robots continuously, projected to be in approximately 10% and 90% by 2019.

KEIT, Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology, defines ’logistics robot’ as follows. A logistics robot is mainly utilized for packaging, classification, loading and transfer of goods within a robot system that is intended to improve efficiency of distribution through convergence of artificial intelligence technology such as environment and situation recognition and scheduling, by machine learning and robot technologies such IoT technology and autonomous driving at distribution centers, factories, etc.

The distribution center of Amazon, the largest distribution company in the world, employs more than 45,000 logistics robots and saves significantly in matters of costs as well as time. However, these logistics robots are only responsible for transfer functions, therefore, still requiring human-robot collaboration model and relying on humans for picking. As a result, the system cannot operate 24 hours a day.

To overcome this shortfall, Amazon has set up its own objective and is operating Amazon Robotics Challenge, ARC, continuously to acquire related technologies.

Also, logistics robots can be applied to transfer of goods and stock management at large buildings such as hospitals, sanatoriums and hotels, not to mention distribution center.

Kim Gyeong-hoon, PD of the intelligent robot PD team at KEIT, said “The market is expected to be activated in the next few years as companies specializing in robots would be able to finish developing major technologies such as autonomous driving and elevator linkage, which are essential from the perspective of transfer of goods, in the field of logistics robots for large buildings such as hospitals and sanatoriums and they are already in the middle of entering the market.” and “in the medium to longer term, it is necessary to develop logistics robots that are capable of operating 24 hours unmanned, therefore, it requires development of technology that recognizes products based on various kinds and characteristics.”

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