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Confidence in Robot Picking Surges, Survey Says


March 24, 2022

A new survey from AI robotics company Covariant revealed that more than half of respondents feel that intelligent robots have become smart enough to reliably run pick-and-place stations. The results were shared by Covariant ahead of next week’s MODEX 2022 event in Atlanta, which focuses on warehouse operations and supply chain solutions.

Covariant said it surveyed more than 300 logistics professionals to ask them about their current fulfillment challenges, technology investment priorities, and perception of AI robotics. The company also said it wanted to understand logistics professionals’ plans for implementing AI robotics to help automate warehouse picking processes. The survey also revealed investment plans across material handling operations such as sortation, induction, goods-to-person order picking, and depalletization.

“Savvy logistics professionals believe the new generation of intelligent automation, AI robotics, will solve many of today’s most pervasive fulfillment center challenges,” said Peter Chen, CEO of Covariant. “We’ve reached a critical phase of technological viability. Covariant robots are performing autonomously, and often exceeding traditional operations, while delivering a strong business case. As supply chain challenges continue to put pressure on warehouses, prospects are expressing rising urgency to adopt our solutions.”

From those respondents who asserted that robots can handle pick-and-place, 25% are already using AI-powered robots or are in the midst of implementation.

When asked about the main barriers to adoption, responses fell into two major areas, Covariant said:

  • Uncertainty about return-on-investment (ROI) or a lack of awareness around new business models, such as robotics-as-a-service (RaaS); 35% said implementing a solution would be too expensive.
  • A noisy marketplace – 16% said they are overwhelmed by the nuances of available solutions, and are finding it difficult in assessing the differences between solutions.

“When getting started, it can be difficult to understand the impact AI-powered solutions could have on your unique operations,” said Ed Shapiro, director of engineering at 3PL Capacity and a customer of Covariant. “Starting with their assessment framework for benchmarking performance, to developing an ROI-centric RaaS commercial model, all the way to ensuring full-scale deployment success, Covariant demonstrated technical expertise, superior performance, and immediate value.”

In addition to demonstrating at MODEX, Covariant said it is co-hosting an educational seminar about deployment best practices along with Capacity, and will also be demonstrating robotic systems with ABB, KNAPP and Bastian at their booths.

More details on Covariant and its offerings are available at its website.

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