In a recent Q&A session on LinkedIn, Emil Hauch Jensen, a renowned expert in mobile robotics, shared his insights and perspectives on the future of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and their application across various industries. Here’s a summary of the key topics and advice he offered:
Choosing the Right Vendor for AMRs
Jensen emphasized the importance of assessing AMR technology based on its ability to solve specific use cases, customer references, and the size of the vendor’s global and local organization. Price competitiveness should be considered after these primary factors.
The Role of VDA5050 in Mobile Robotics
He downplayed the threat of VDA5050 to mobile robot manufacturers, suggesting that AMR vendors will continue to develop their own superior Fleet Management Systems (FMS), yet VDA5050 compatibility will become increasingly important for participation in tenders.
Best Practices for Implementing AMRs
For those considering AMRs, Jensen recommended starting with simple, collaborative projects, thoughtful integration with existing systems like WMS/ERP, and investing in training for internal teams to manage and operate the equipment effectively.
Data Privacy in AMR Operations
Jensen highlighted the necessity of incorporating privacy and data security into the design of AMRs, especially for robots operating in public spaces or those recording video.
AMR Applications and Future Trends
He expressed skepticism about “Follow Me” robots in warehouse operations due to their limited efficiency gains compared to Goods to Person systems. Instead, he envisioned a future where smaller, simpler systems navigate traditional warehouse environments autonomously.
The RAAS Model in Manufacturing
Jensen touched on the complexities of implementing a true Robot as a Service (RaaS) model in manufacturing, suggesting that long-term commitments and integration costs often turn these into leasing or financing arrangements.
AMR vs. AGV
He foresaw a convergence of AMRs and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), with future mobile robots capable of operating in both modes depending on the requirements.
The Future of Mobile Robotics
Jensen predicted advancements in ease of use, deployment, and mobile manipulators (robots that can move and manipulate objects). He sees AI playing a significant role in improving SLAM, obstacle avoidance, and FMS.
AMR Fleet Management with Multiple Brands
The future, according to Jensen, will require interoperability standards like VDA5050 for efficient fleet management of multi-brand AMRs.
The Role of M&A in Mobile Robotics
He viewed mergers and acquisitions positively, as they bring capital and management experience to startups, driving innovation and market growth.
Emerging Markets for AMRs
Jensen identified floor cleaning as a significant growth area for AMRs outside traditional warehouse and factory settings.
Service and Maintenance in AMRs
He stressed the importance of service level agreements and the potential of augmented support in minimizing downtime and maximizing operational efficiency.
AI in AMR Development
Jensen forecasted major AI breakthroughs in SLAM, obstacle avoidance, and FMS, which will revolutionize mobile robot operations in manufacturing and logistics.
In conclusion, Emil Hauch Jensen’s responses paint a picture of a rapidly evolving AMR landscape, where technological advancement, market demands, and innovative approaches are reshaping how businesses integrate robotics into their operations. His insights provide valuable guidance for companies navigating this dynamic field.