5 Persistent Myths About Mobile Robots Debunked

Published on 12.04.2024

Amidst technological advancements and increasing automation, mobile robots remain shrouded in numerous misconceptions and myths. From the perceived complexity of their operation to their actual applications, many false assumptions obscure a clear view of their potential. In this article, we will debunk some of these prevalent myths surrounding mobile robots and shed light on the reality behind them.

Reading time: approximately 2 minutes

Myth #1: AGVs are no longer relevant and are being replaced by AMRs.

False. Firstly, it's important to clarify terminologies. A driverless transport system comprises multiple autonomous vehicles, including Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), each with distinct characteristics. AGVs follow predefined routes and require a central control system for route calculation, while AMRs navigate freely, calculating routes onboard. Therefore, the statement that "AMRs replace AGVs" is not entirely accurate.

However, newer technologies indeed complement older systems. Advances in sensor technologies and artificial intelligence drive the adoption of AMRs, as they navigate complex environments safely and efficiently. The choice of the appropriate autonomous vehicle depends on various factors and requires a thorough evaluation based on process requirements and technological criteria.

Myth #2: Not every process is suitable for automation with mobile robots and must necessarily be adapted.

True. The automation of a process often depends on its complexity and the feasibility of full automation with mobile robots. Particularly at transfer points where human intelligence is required to make complex decisions, robots may struggle. Hence, optimizing information flow is crucial to enhance the effectiveness of automated systems. It's also true that not all processes can be automated immediately, as significant changes, such as those in team dynamics or workflows, may be necessary.

For initial robot projects, less complex processes are suitable before transferring gained knowledge to more complex ones. Making trade-offs and compromises is important. Exploratory workshops can assist in comprehensively identifying processes suitable for mobile robotics implementation and determining a realistic timeframe.

Myth #3: Mobile robots are only worthwhile for logistics operations of a certain size and are suitable only for greenfield projects.

False. Mobile robots find applications in various environments, whether greenfield or brownfield. Challenges may arise in brownfield properties, such as adapting to existing infrastructures like flooring and expansion joints. In greenfield projects, planning and implementation are usually straightforward. However, robot projects are already profitable in most environments today, particularly in pallet transport. Even for simpler processes, automation solutions can be implemented for as little as €70,000 to €80,000, leading to a quick return on investment (ROI). It's feasible to automate at least partial processes in all environments.

Myth #4: Only individuals with technical expertise can implement and operate mobile robots.

False. Technical expertise is not necessarily required for robot operation and programming. Many robots can be programmed using graphical user interfaces, which can be learned by individuals without an IT background. There are various implementation approaches, from ready-to-use robots to projects where integrators handle the entire implementation process without requiring technical expertise. Additionally, training and education provide opportunities for employees without specific IT knowledge to learn robot operation.

Myth #5: Mobile robots are too expensive.

False. Mobile robots have become increasingly affordable over time. Nowadays, devices are available at prices in the low five-figure range, and these prices have steadily decreased in recent years. Investing in mobile robots is therefore worthwhile at an early stage, especially considering the growing shortage of skilled labor in Germany and the expected further price reductions for robotic solutions.

Furthermore, the market offers a wide variety of devices, significantly expanding the choices for potential users. ROI and business case calculations enable informed decisions about the profitability of a robot project. WAKU Robotics supports companies in project calculations and offers tailor-made solutions to ensure the financial viability of the robot project.


Given the widespread myths and misconceptions surrounding mobile robots, it's crucial to illuminate the reality behind these notions. Clarifying terminologies and analyzing current technological developments reveal that the future of robotics is diverse and dynamic.

The realization that mobile robots can be deployed not only in specific environments but across a variety of use cases underscores their increasing importance for the efficiency and profitability of businesses. While some challenges and adjustments are necessary, it's evident that the benefits of automation outweigh the drawbacks in many cases.

Technological advancements, coupled with a wide range of solutions, make mobile robots an attractive option for companies seeking to optimize their operations. With a clear understanding of the reality behind the myths, organizations can seize opportunities and actively shape the future of robotics.

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In Episode 43 of the "WAKU Update" podcast, Victor Splittgerber, CEO of WAKU Robotics, discusses the truth behind five persistent myths with Benjamin Billaudelle, the Lead Consultant at WAKU Robotics.

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