Every single item in the innovation lab had some new automation device for 2022- including Locus Robotics’ “co-bots,” designed to work alongside humans in fulfillment warehouses, zipping around the company’s display area; AutoStore’s grid-based picking system, also being demoed; Avidbots’ state-of-the-art robotic floor cleaner; and Autonomy, whose proprietary technology enables fully autonomous curbside and last-mile delivery, reducing retail’s carbon footprint.
Automated in-store tech will be the next wave of fulfillment with units offering additional capabilities, like robotic arms for stocking shelves, which we should expect in the next five to ten years in all major retailers.
Implications: The market for retail automation is expected to grow by 10 percent in the coming year. It makes a lot of sense, as automation really is a key part in making retail stores digital. All brands and retailers should ramp up for automation both in fulfillment and substitution intelligence. We should expect autonomous deliveries via machine learning-powered bots and multi-stop cable transporters and robotic delivery service in 2022. It will certainly be an eventful year for autonomous delivery technology.