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Despite a Lot of Hype, Future Looks Bright for Mobile Robots in Supply Chain, Gartner Says


Gartner Release Hype Cycle for Mobile Robots and Drones

Aug. 29, 2023

The analysts at Gartner are out with a new research note that says mobile robots are likely to gain much more adoption in the supply chain than drones, though both will see strong growth.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


MAOs will “assign work to the right robots based on the characteristics of immediate and prioritized tasks and communicate with other types of automation (agents) like door or elevator controls.”

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Over 75% of companies plan on using some type of robotic warehouse automation by 2027, says Dwight Klappich, a VP of in Gartner’s supply chain practice.

Gartner also says also predicts that a key factor will be machine learning becoming “mainstream” over the next five years, creating greater demand both for mobile robots and drones as they can drive improved value.

Interestingly, Gartner has created one of its famous “hype cycles” across mobile robots and drones, as shown below.

The hype cycles are meant to place various technologies in a given area on a sort of oddly shaped maturity curve.

As with all hype cycles, the new mobile robot/drone one tracks various technologies/solutions from their rise up from introduction to maximum hype, after which comes the dreaded "Trough of Disillusionment," as reality meets the hype and users are disappointed with the results.

For some ultimately beneficial technologies, progress is then made during the "Slope of Enlightenment" phase, and for some subset of those eventually widespread adoption as they reach the "Plateau of Productivity."

Even though its is very early in its hype cycle journey, Klappich is bullish on what Gartner calls “multiagent orchestration platforms (MAO).

What is that?

Klappich says MAOs act like intelligent middleware that integrates and orchestrates work between various business applications, heterogenous fleets of operational robots, and other automated agents like doors or elevators.

“These solutions orchestrate and assign work and monitor and coordinate the activities of diverse fleets of robots,” Klappich states.

MAOs are important, he adds, as companies expand their use of robotics. Most will eventually have heterogeneous fleets of robots from different vendors performing various tasks, which will require standardized software that can easily integrate to a variety of agents and robot platforms.


(See More Below)




MAOs will “assign work to the right robots based on the characteristics of immediate and prioritized tasks and communicate with other types of automation (agents) like door or elevator controls.”

Noteworthy to SCDigest after perusing this hype cycle chart, mobile sortation systems (which are like individual tilt tray sorters that can move) and warehouse picking robots are placed as just past the peak of hype and headed for a fall (for awhile at least) into the trough.

But light cargo delivery drones have nearly bottomed out and may soon start delivering real value.

“A number of technologies with “high” impact will also mature within the next few years, creating an accelerating market for increasingly capable mobile robots and drones,” Gartner says.

Any thoughts on this mobile robot hype cycle? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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