E-commerce giant Suning’s warehouse in Shanghai functions using Automated Guided Vehicles, or AGVs. Each self-guided robots reportedly can carry out the work of ten people, Chinese state media reported.
The AGVs fit squarely into the company’s plans to offer fully-automated logistics solutions.
The “smart” Suning warehouse uses about 270 of the AGVs to carry out tasks, including moving a significant number of products around the warehouse.
Able to travel freely, the AGVs weigh 160 kilograms and can carry approximately 800 kilograms.
The robots can carry large loads by themselves over a long distance, according to Xinhua.
A video of the robots in action that can be seen here shows them transporting filled cabinets and mounds of boxes within the e-commerce company’s warehouse.
The AGVs return on their own to recharge when they’re low on power, according to state media.
According to Drives and Control Magazine, demand for AGVs and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) used in manufacturing is “exploding”, with global sales set to reach nearly $1.5 billion this year.
Revenues from AMRs are expected to grow by almost 75% during 2018, the magazine said.
The market that supplies mobile robot robots for manufacturing is currently fragmented, with the five largest suppliers – Elettric80, Daifuku, Dematic, JBT and Siasun – accounting for just 35% of revenues last year, according to the magazine.
In the market for traditional fixed industrial robots, the top five suppliers represent close to 60% of global sales.
Just three days ago, Suning completed a test of a heavy-duty autonomous truck at the company’s logistics park in Shanghai.
Called the “Strolling Dragon,” it is the first self-driving truck developed by a Chinese e-commerce company to pass logistics campus tests and highway-scenario road tests in China, the company said in a news release.
The truck is able to operate without human input within pre-programmed parameters.
Equipped with artificial intelligence, deep-learning technologies and gadgets like laser radar, Strolling Dragon has can recognize obstacles at a distance of over 300 meters, even at high speed, according to the company.
The unmanned truck can also make emergency stops and avoid obstacles at a response rate of 25 ms.
Suning is one of the largest non-government retailers in China, headquartered in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. It’s one of China’s top three B2C companies.