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The Warehouse Wow Factor: Autonomous Mobile Robots in Action

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are on the move, transforming how we manage today’s high-tech warehouses. And let’s face it: They’re also just plain cool.


Delivering on Digitalization

The robots are coming – all on their own

There’s something undeniably awesome about watching robots. Now picture an entire fleet moving autonomously around a vast warehouse, handling time-consuming, back-breaking, and – let’s be honest – mind-numbing tasks in the service of their human masters.

The first generation of automated mobile warehouse technology, known as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), began redefining warehouses in the late 20th century. But AGVs depend on tracks or marked pathways and often need human oversight. Now we’re witnessing the roll out of the next-gen technology known as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and enhanced sensor technology, AMRs glide around today’s state-of-the-art warehouses can, independently learning their environment, navigating around obstacles, and intercommunicating for maximum safety and efficiency.

You’ll find AMRs in agriculture, healthcare, and building maintenance, but they’re most at home in warehouses and distribution centers.

DHL’s Locus Origin autonomous mobile robots reporting for duty

Source: DHL

Humans are made for better things

So far, AMRs are mostly taking over the “3D” jobs: dull, dirty, and/or dangerous. Today’s warehouses and order fulfillment centers offer plenty of those. First and foremost, this means navigating narrow aisles and lifting heavy loads on and off high shelves, then transporting them across long distances. But it can also mean performing routine cleaning operations, sparing humans exposure to harsh disinfectants. And it can even involve the kind of standard safety and security checks that are often tedious and occasionally hazardous for humans.

Handing these tasks over to AMR technology makes things safer and more fun, freeing us up for the creative, high-value tasks we were meant for – like solving complex problems, monitoring multiple processes, maintaining customer relationships, and more. Automation also enhances warehouse work and improves job satisfaction while reducing workplace injuries and fatigue. That’s good news for an industry struggling to attract and retain high-quality personnel.

up to 15 km/day

Distance walked by human warehouse workers in facilities without AMRs

up to 180%

Increase in per-hour units picked through the deployment of AMRs


Locus AMRs in DHL’s global network by the end of 2023 (up from current 3,000)

250+ million

… and counting: total number of units picked by DHL Locus AMRs worldwide

A few more facts & figures on AMRs

  • All but perfect: AMRs typically achieve picking accuracy rates of 99.99%, far surpassing what humans can do alone – and at much greater speeds.
  • A community feeling: The flexible nature of AMRs makes them easy to integrate alongside human workers and fixed warehouse robotics systems.
  • Fast and furious: A fleet of bots connected by a centralized platform can quickly and automatically optimize picking routes for even greater efficiency.
  • A sight for sore feet: Human pickers spend up to 75% of their time walking back and forth from point to point. With bots doing the legwork, humans can focus on tasks that require higher intelligence and insight.
  • Quick onboarding: AMRs require no installed infrastructure and very little employee training, so they can be deployed quickly and scaled up or down at short notice in response to fluctuations in demand or labor shortages.
  • Do more with less: With AMRs, warehouses can be designed with much greater efficiency of space, so warehouse managers can do more with their existing space or plan for less space.

Bring on the bots!

Want to watch more DHL robots in action? Then check out this video showcasing a massive automated warehouse we run together with our partners Carhartt and Locus Robotics.

We believe in the potential of AMR technology, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is – together with Locus Robotics.

How robotic picking is revolutionizing warehouse productivity

Published: July 2023

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