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Interest High in AI, Survey Finds

Confidence in the future application of intelligent robots used in warehouse automation is at an all-time high among logistics professionals, according to a survey conducted by the intelligent warehouse systems provider Covariant.

Notable findings from the survey reveal a record-level interest in artificial intelligence, robotics and planned investment across material handling operations such as sortation, induction, good-to-person order picking and depalletization.

The company reported that other findings include:

  • Almost half of respondents assert that intelligent robots have become smart enough to reliably run pick-and-place stations.
  • Of that group, one in four say they are already are using AI-powered robotics or are in the process of implementation.
  • Covariant also said that the main barriers to adoption fell into two major areas for the minority who indicated they have yet to try AI robotics:
  • Uncertainty around ROI/lack of awareness of new commercial models such as Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS), resulting in 35% saying they are concerned implementing a solution would be too expensive.
  • A noisy marketplace –16% are overwhelmed by the nuances of available solutions and the level of difficulty in assessing the differences of each one.

“Savvy logistics professionals believe the new generation of intelligent automation, AI robotics, will solve many of today’s most pervasive fulfillment center challenges,” observed Covariant Chief Executive Officer Peter Chen. “We’ve reached a critical phase of technological viability.”

He said customers have found that it takes time to see the full breadth of applications. Covariant customer Ed Shapiro, director of engineering at 3PL Capacity, noted, “When getting started, it can be difficult to understand the impact AI-powered solutions could have on your unique operations.”

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