Mobile robots in warehouses are not yet commoditized, as sensors and software continue to improve and distinguish their capabilities. Ouster Inc., a provider of high-resolution digital lidar sensors, yesterday said that it has signed a strategic customer agreement with Vecna Robotics, a material handling automation supplier.
The agreement includes a non-binding forecast for approximately 3,000 OS digital lidar sensors through 2025 as Vecna Robotics scales production of its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to meet increasing customer demand for warehouse and logistics automation.
“Warehouse and logistics automation is critical to improving supply chain operations,” said Angus Pacala, CEO of Ouster. “Businesses are facing unprecedented shipping delays, labor shortages, and price inflation – and the demand to safely automate key aspects of the value chain is only accelerating.”
San Francisco-based Ouster provides lidar for the automotive, industrial, smart infrastructure, and robotics industries. The company claimed that its sensors “offer an excellent combination of price and performance with the flexibility to span hundreds of use cases and enable revolutionary autonomy across industries.”
With a global team and high-volume manufacturing, Ouster supports about 600 customers in over 50 countries.
Most material handling not yet automated
Currently, less than 1% of material handling vehicles are automated, representing a significant opportunity for warehouse automation within the $2.5 billion total addressable market (TAM) estimated for the industrial lidar market by 2025, noted Ouster.
Manufacturing and logistics companies currently rely on more than 4 million human operators to move nearly 2 billion pallets in the U.S. each day and approximately 5 billion pallets worldwide, added Vecna.
Vecna Robotics said it works with leading distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing companies to alleviate global supply chain challenges through AMRs that increase throughput and efficiency.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company said its self-driving fork trucks, pallet trucks, and tuggers—powered by the proprietary Pivotal orchestration software and its 24/7/365 command center—can help organizations automate critical workflows, maximize throughput, and scale operations fast.
Vecna to add Ouster lidar to autonomy stack
Vecna Robotics plans to fuse Ouster lidar into its multi-sensor autonomy stack to equip self-driving pallet trucks, tow tractors, and lift trucks for high-capacity materials handling operations.
The lidar will help Vecna's system confidently navigate dynamic environments, safely detect and avoid obstacles while working alongside people and manually driven vehicles, and intelligently map its path through real-time topological reasoning, said the companies.
“We completed an exhaustive evaluation of all 3D lidar sensors on the market and found the Ouster OS0 to be our strong favorite,” said Zachary Dydek, chief technology officer of Vecna Robotics. “We believe Ouster’s best-in-class customer service and proven scalability will enable Vecna Robotics to meet customer demand for high-volume production and further extend our technology leadership in the industrial AMR space.”