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UAE use cases for autonomous mobile robots delivering more than returns

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have become widely popular not only in the field of e-commerce retail warehouses but have proven to have capabilities to collaborate with humans in different industries

Delivery robots, in particular, are quickly coming of age as touchless fulfillment becomes the norm UAE-based malls operator Majid Al Futtaim has recently launched its first automated fulfillment center in Dubai The supply chain is guilty of producing over 90% of a company’s carbon dioxide

The need for automation in logistics and warehouses is being driven by the increasing popularity of e-commerce which has experienced a further boost with same-day delivery demands, shortage of labor, and the time wasted by labor in traveling long distances.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have become widely popular not only in the field of e-commerce retail warehouses but have proven to have capabilities to collaborate with humans in different industries such as hospitality, healthcare, security, fashion, and third-party logistics.

Overall, the market for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) is forecasted to generate over $10bn by 2023, according to Interact Analysis, and that prediction relies on data from before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled Mobile Robots Market in Healthcare and Hospitality Sectors by End-user, Product, and Geography – Forecast and Analysis 2021-2025

Delivery robots, in particular, are quickly coming of age as touchless fulfillment becomes the norm. Starship Technologies has launched pilot programs in controlled access spaces, such as US college campuses.

Nuro, among the leading players in autonomous delivery vehicle development having already partnered with some of the country’s biggest brands, has been proofing its technology across the southwest US and recently announced a $40 million investment to develop two new facilities.

Majid Al Futtaim fulfillment center

UAE-based retail group and malls operator Majid Al Futtaim has recently launched its first automated fulfillment center in Dubai to ensure faster and more efficient deliveries for online orders.

The company has collaborated with e-grocery innovator Takeoff Technologies to launch the center at its Carrefour store in Ibn Battuta Mall.

Claimed to be the first-of-its-kind facility in the Middle East, the digitized storage picking facility automates the task of managing orders, reducing the time required to process them by 50%.

The center utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to pick customers’ orders from the storage facility. AMRs assist staff at the facility to retrieve items and maintain stock levels as products leave storage areas.

A dedicated inventory placement machine uses AI to allocate storage space for stock depending on each item’s popularity, improving stock availability for orders.

All orders are prepared within five minutes, cutting the average time between order placement and dispatch in half. The center can process 200 orders every hour, a statement said.

The pandemic pushed the company to accelerate its strategy, as Carrefour recorded a 220% increase in online orders in 2020.

The company’s first dark store – which caters exclusively to online shopping in Deira – opened last year. It is now able to manage 2100 orders, from 700 orders when it opened, thanks to robotization, and requires 60% less in terms of manpower.

It is the first of three automated facilities planned to open in H1, 2021, including a second location in Dubai and another in Jeddah.  

Majid Al Futtaim operates 350+ Carrefour locations in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Sustainable supply chains

The supply chain is guilty of producing over 90% of a company’s carbon dioxide.   

Automation and robotics, and transportation innovations like electric vehicles, reduce waste, minimize cost, save time, increase productivity, and ensure transparency in the supply chain.  

A study conducted by Deloitte showed that 53% of supply chain companies surveyed are investing in warehouse automation, followed by predictive analytics (47%), Internet of Things (41%), and Cloud Logistics (40%).