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ABI Research Sees Strong Growth in Autonomous Lift Trucks, Advanced Fleet Management Systems


Category: Transportation and Logistics


Autonomous Lift Truck Sales will double over Next Year, Research Finds

June 11, 2024

In terms of warehouse automation, Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) have gathered most of the market attention, it seems, especially for so-called collaborative picking applications, where AMRs work in conjunction with human workers to increase productivity.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


As with much of the interest of warehouse automation in general, the interest in more automated lift truck is being driven as much by labor shortages as it is the desire to reduce costs.

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But of late, “the industrial lift truck market has been buzzing,” according to a new report from ABI Research, with high investment in electrification, automation, and the implementation of telematics systems.

For example, according to ABI shipments of autonomous industrial lift trucks will double from 2024 to 2025 in North America and Europe.

“Pallet-picking operations have lagged when it comes to automation, with most warehouse automation coming in the form of smaller form Autonomous Mobile Robots and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) for case and item picking,” says Ryan Wiggin, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

The additional complexity and safety concerns associated with heavy pallet handling requirements has been a barrier to adoption autonomous lift trucks, ABI notes.

But Wiggin observes that “more organizations are now exploring how they can optimize their industrial lift truck fleets through better management by adding telematics systems and exploring autonomous models for certain tasks.”

Most existing lift truck markers, such as Toyota Material Handling, Jungheinrich, and Crown, are bringing automated industrial trucks to market. However, ABI says they “are being challenged by dedicated new robotics vendors such as Fox Robotics, Agilox, and OTTO Motors.“

The growing adoption of autonomous lift trucks is naturally expected to reduce the sales of standard industrial lift trucks in the medium term, ABI notes.

But there is action in the lift truck market beyond the push for autonomy. ABI says that interest in better fleet management is also fueling a sharp rise in the adoption of telematics systems for industrial trucks.

Fleet management systems enable companies to track and analyze movements, ensure worker safety, and orchestrate mixed fleets, according to ABI, with the technology led by companies such as Powerfleet, ELOKON, Inpixon, and GemOne.

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As with much of the interest of warehouse automation in general, the interest in more automated lift truck is being driven as much by labor shortages as it is the desire to reduce costs.

“A declining workforce in industrial settings is forcing companies to consider adopting automated industrial trucks to conduct repetitive put-away and shunting activities, such as trailer unloading/loading and moving pallets from one part of a warehouse to another,” Wiggin observes.

He adds that fleets will become an increasing blend of automation and manual operation alongside growing investment in telematics systems to support safety and management. Significant opportunities exist for all three sides of the market (OEMs, aftermarket telematics, and robotics providers) with several partnerships and new players expected in the coming years.”


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