A new competitive ranking by technology research firm ABI Research provides “an in-depth and unbiased examination” of the autonomous forklift solutions offered by 16 autonomous forklift suppliers, according to the company.
A total of eight criteria were chosen for the analysis and segmented across innovation and implementation clusters. These include the vehicle solutions across three major categories of autonomous forklifts, namely reach truck, counterbalance stacker, and pallet truck, the level of maturity in navigation solutions, fleet management and orchestration, as well as the vendors’ integration and optimization capability.
The report further evaluates the vendors’ revenue and funding, customer reference, regional presence, the company’s distribution networks, and technology partners.
Companies evaluated and ranked
- Vecna Robotics
- VisionNav Robotics
- Toyota Motor
- Standard Robots
- ForwardX Robotics
- DS Automotion
- Lanxin Technology
Malik Saadi, vice president at ABI Research, says: “Autonomous forklifts are Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) that can move freely without relying on surrounding infrastructure, as all players use either vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) or laser SLAM for navigation through Two-Dimensional (2D) and Three-Dimensional (3D) Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), as well as stereoscopic cameras.
“Now, fewer than 1 percent of the deployed forklifts today are autonomous. During the pandemic, the need for autonomous material handling at high payloads had risen significantly due to supply chain disruptions and labor shortages.
“As more and more end users adopt autonomous forklifts and taste their benefits, the market is expected to undergo robust growth.”
Based on the eight criteria, ABI Research assessed Balyo, Teradyne, Seegrid, and Seer as the top four market leaders.
In addition to its advanced navigation capabilities, Balyo has industrial partnerships with two of the largest forklift manufacturers in the world in Kion and Hyster-Yale, extensive distribution networks through Körber, Clevertech, and Ulma, and a strategic partnership with Amazon.
Teradyne excels in implementation due to the brand awareness of its subsidiaries, Universal Robots (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robot (MiR).
Seegrid’s continual focus on heavy-load material handling enables the company to differentiate itself from the market.
Lastly, Seer’s credentials come mainly from hardware innovation, where the company’s Arm-based controller can perform on-robot navigation while meeting all critical functional safety standards.
As a result, the robots will no longer need a safety Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).
Saadi says: “In addition, all vendors also develop robotics controller, fleet management, and other optimization software that integrate with existing industrial, manufacturing, and warehousing software, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Warehouse Execution System (WES), and Warehouse Management System (WMS) offerings.”