The global warehouse robotics market is expected to reach $2.15 billion by 2020, and China is adding a new player to its growing, respected roster. Syrius Robotics, a Shenzhen-based startup co-founded by Alibaba’s former director of robotics, Luo Xuan, is building autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with JD.com.
Syrius Robotics tells The Robot Report the AMRs cost $14,124 each. A limited 100 units will be made available for pre-order, with an estimated shipping date of May 2019. The AMRs will initially only be available to customers in China, Syrius Robotics said, but sales could open up to other countries in 2019.
Syrius Robotics has been working with JD Logistics to integrate the robots into two model warehouses for further testing and and optimization. The AMRs use the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, which enables the robots to run a multi-sensor fusion algorithm and perceive their environment. Here are some of the other key features, according to Syrius Robotics:
- Active binocular 3D camera and fish-eye lens camera in AMR’s head
- Ultrasonic sensor, single-line ToF infrared rangefinder, and LiDAR sensor in AMR’s body
- Fleet management software and cloud services
- Battery life: 10 hours; Charging time: 2 hours
- Maximum payload: 50kg
- Maximum speed no-load: 2m/s
- Maximum speed under standard load (25kg): 1.2m/s
- Security features: Emergency stop buttons
- Size: 600mmx420mmx1200mm
- Weight: 45kg
- Navigate mode: VSLAM
- Positioning accuracy: 50mm
Syrius Robotics has raised $1.2 million in an Angle Round led by FutureCap. At Syrius Robotics’ launch event, Zhang Zhou, investment director of JD Logistics, said JD is exploring the possibility of investing in the company. JD has invested in many robotics and logistics ventures and has their own AMRs for last-mile deliveries. JD has research facilities in the US and is beginning to set up logistics centers partnering with others.
Global e-commerce sales topped $2.3 trillion in 2017. China and the US combined for nearly 70 percent of that figure, with Alibaba, Amazon, JD.com and others serving as key players in the market. Due to the pressures of increasing e-commerce demand, combined with labor shortages and rising costs, companies are turning to automation and robotics to help keep up with demand.
Black Friday and Singles’ Day are two examples of the remarkable growth the e-commerce industry has experienced. Singles Day, which takes place in China, is the largest offline and online shopping day in the world. Alibaba, for example, racked up a record $30.8 billion during the 24-hour event this year, breaking the 2017 record of $25.3 billion. Cainiao, a Chinese logistics firm majority-owned by Alibaba, recently opened a warehouse with over 700 robots working in it specifically for Singles’ Day.
So with the size of their respective e-commerce markets, the US and China home to leading warehouse robotics suppliers. Amazon bought Kiva Systems for more than $750 billion in 2012, but has kept the robots in-house to automate its warehouses. And Geek+, the leading supplier of warehousing and logistics solutions in China and SE Asia, just raised $150 million to expand its business. Geek+ said it has delivered more than 5,000 robots and implemented over 100 robotics warehouse projects to customers globally, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Europe, and the United States.