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The hottest application for robotics these days is e-commerce order fulfillment, with small batches, high variability, and demand for high throughput. Large e-commerce retailers, third-party logistics operators, and venture capital firms are investing in e-commerce automation systems and robots that can deliver goods faster to customers.

In this webcast, Robotics Business Review editors Eugene Demaitre and Keith Shaw discuss the latest trends they’re seeing in the e-commerce space as it relates to robotics. They also provide an overview of the companies within the space, including those that have recently made the news — and made money.

The potential for more robots is vast, as both large companies such as Amazon.com and smaller ones deal with high staff turnover, difficult warehouse conditions, and challenging locations for placement of distribution centers. Where can your business use more robots?

In addition, demand for faster deliveries, flexible automation options, and rapid scaling in response to holiday demand poses challenges for robotics designers and suppliers.

A recent report by ABI Research estimates that global shipments of e-commerce automation for online order fulfillment will reach 443,000 units in 2026, more than 20x the shipments for 2018. This category includes autonomous mobile platforms in warehouses, robotic manipulators, last-mile delivery robots, and collaborative robots.

We provide some answers to the following:

  • Why is the supply chain automation so hot right now?
  • What are the pain points that are best addressed with mobile platforms, collaborative robots, or pick-and-place robots?
  • Recent news and investments for mobile robotics companies – which vendors are making waves?
  • Last-mile automation – can these companies be considered part of the e-commerce ecosystem?
  • Which companies can benefit from supply chain automation?
  • The future of e-commerce automation: What do the next few years hold for faster delivery of goods to customers?

In addition, the webcast discusses the likelihood of aerial drone deliveries, the growth of urban distribution centers, and the potential for long-haul automated trucking. RBR’s editors also chat about whether supply-chain operations can truly get to a “lights-out” operation.

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