Unmanned systems – which include drones and robotics – are big business. According to a report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) on the industry’s economic impact, the drone sector alone will grow during the next 10 years with more than 100,000 jobs created and an economic impact of $82 billion. For retailers, unmanned systems present two exciting opportunities.
As robotics systems gain a prominent place on the warehouse and fulfillment side of the retail business, they are improving efficiencies and customer service. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global warehouse robotics market is projected to reach $10.34 billion by 2020.
In 2012, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bet big on robotics when he purchased Kiva (now known as Amazon Robotics) for $775 million – and halted sales of their robots to other companies, effectively giving Amazon a leg-up on using robots for fulfillment. But in the years since, the industry has stepped up, with many new entrants in the autonomous mobile robotics market delivering value across the retail sector.