10 Takeaways From A3’s Autonomous Mobile Robot and Logistics Conference

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Incremental change but big investments

​At A3’s Louisville event, FedEx’s Prather challenged the industry to develop systems to help load and unload trucks on loading docks. The threshold between indoor and outdoor materials handling is difficult because of weather, multiple systems, and tight spaces.

After years of speculation about mobile manipulation, several companies at A3’s event showed the state of the art. They included Boston Dynamics, Dextrous Robotics, Teradyne companies MiR and Universal Robots, and Waypoint Robotics.

Most were for smaller pick-and-place tasks, with the exceptions of Boston Dynamics’ Handle and Dextrous’ “chopstick”-style robot.

Not to be confused with Dextrous, software firm Dexterity Inc. raised $140 million last week. Samir Menon, founder and CEO of Dexterity, described how dexterous manipulation capabilities are scaling at the conference.

Robotics 24/7 has tracked more than $1.4 billion in investments in mobile robots and $29 billion in supply chain and logistics automation so far this year.

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1. No one size fits all for the DC of the future

2. Find 'low-hanging fruit' and build 'virtual belts'

3. Start small, but think big

4. Don't underestimate your environment

5. Don't forget your workforce

6. Boston Dynamics looks to commercial future with Stretch

7. The newlywed game

8. Partnerships aim to accelerate AMR adoption

9. Incremental change but big investments

10. Industry increasingly recognizes need for interoperability

Robot Technologies