SLAM technology paving way for next-gen industrial robots

August 27, 2019 //By Ally Winning
ABI Research has predicted that the installed base of SLAM-enabled robots will exceed 15 million by 2030.
ABI Research has predicted that the installed base of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)-enabled robots will exceed 15 million by 2030.

SLAM technology lets the robot to map its environment, as well as its own position in that environment. The technology facilitate the move from Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs).

AGVs have been widely used in industrial environments. AMRs can optimise their pathing, react to unexpected situations and navigate around obstacles. Initially to coordinate activity and avoid collisions between AMRs, AGVs, and people, a central tracking system must be in place.

“In these first years of the Industry 4.0, few factories will have a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) established, making it essential that AMRs can dynamically map their immediate environment using SLAM,” explains Andrew Zignani, Principal Analyst for Location Technologies at ABI Research. “Still, factories which already have a RTLS system deployed, can use RTLS and SLAM together to provide valuable IoT data to a digital platform that can be used to optimize processes and make factories even leaner, thereby driving much faster ROI.”

AMRs will make further savings in manpower and insurance, as well as increase productivity for plant owners. ABI Research predicts they will make up 80% of all commercial robot shipments by 2027. All AMRs must possess mapping and localization capabilities to react to changing environment inside factories and avoid collisions. Therefore, most industrial robots are expected to have SLAM capabilities in the next decade. Data generated by SLAM technology can also be integrated into the digital factory platform for analysis.

The findings are from ABI Research’s SLAM: Use Cases and Market Opportunities technology analysis report.

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