This IDC Perspective looks at the market landscape for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and also discusses the Amazon's acquisition of Canvas Technologies. Amazon has acquired the Colorado-based autonomous cart company Canvas Technologies. This acquisition brings to Amazon more than an autonomous mobile cart, it also gives the company a strong 3D vision and navigation system that can be applied to other mobile devices. This indicates that Amazon is stepping up its use of autonomous mobility in the fulfillment center and perhaps looking to develop and deploy more flexible autonomous technologies that can support aspects of its fulfillment processes that are not an appropriate fit for the Amazon Robotics (formerly Kiva) model.
"It is not surprising to see Amazon make such an acquisition," says John Santagate, research director for Commercial Service Robotics at IDC. "Amazon has leveraged its robotics as a competitive differentiator for years, but there are now alternative options to autonomous mobile robots compared with the Amazon Robotics system. Alternative options exist that can be deployed more rapidly and without infrastructure change, enable flexibility, and most importantly, for a fulfillment operation, enable scalability."