Automation Ascends: IDTechEx Surfs Robotics Industry’s Rising Wave this Decade

Key Points:

  • The annual market size for mobile robotics in logistics and delivery is set to approach US$150 billion over the next two decades, according to IDTechEx.
  • Significant investment in mobile robotics has occurred in recent years, with funding for various mobile robotics segments increasing 261-fold from 2015 to 2022.
  • The global service robot market is anticipated to surpass US$70 billion by 2032, but rates of adoption will differ based on the complexity of the application.
  • Collaborative robots, designed to interact closely with their human operators, are projected to have a total market size of approximately US$109 billion by 2043.

The robotics industry continues to grow, particularly in areas such as mobile robotics for logistics and delivery. A market report from IDTechEx estimates that the annual market size in this area will come close to US$150 billion in the coming 20 years. This rise comes hand in hand with increasing labor costs, labor shortages, and a demand for e-commerce and logistics services.

Intralogistics currently holds the highest market share for mobile robotics applications. This is followed by last-mile delivery and mobile picking. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are expected to experience significant growth in the 2020s due to improvements in navigation sensors. The annual market size of AMRs for intralogistics could increase by 52 times by 2044 compared to 2023.

The service robot market, encompassing cleaning robots, logistics robots, and social robots among others, is predicted to exceed US$70 billion by 2032. Between these applications, cleaning and logistics robots dominate the market share due to relative simplicity and high demand.

Another growing area is collaborative robots, or cobots, which work alongside human operators without needing protective cages. The cobot market, expected to be driven by sectors such as the automotive industry, could reach about US$109 billion by 2043. This opens up opportunities for component suppliers as the demand for more sensors and enhanced force control increases.

Despite the rapid expansion in cobotics, the market remains dominated by smaller companies with most larger manufacturers having a limited presence. However, as cobots gain popularity, these larger corporations are looking at possible collaborations or acquisitions to expand their cobot offering.

The fast-growing and increasingly diverse robotic market is also driving the growth of the sensor market. Sensors play a vital role in robots and the sensor market is expecting to exceed US$80 billion by 2043.