On Tuesday, local robotics company Seegrid — which has offices based near the Pittsburgh International Airport — shared that it received the top ranking for all mobile robots and in worldwide market share for automated tow tractors in the 2021 Mobile Robots report from Interact Analysis, a market research company for industrial automation.
The news puts Seegrid’s autonomous mobile robots at a competitive edge over not just local companies working the same sector, but in the larger market of firms vying for attention from manufacturing and distribution corporations looking to automate warehouse operations.
Founded in 2003 by Hans Moravec, who was previously a part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, Seegrid is one of the older homegrown robotics companies in Pittsburgh. The firm specializes in autonomous mobile robots, including a lift, pallet truck and tow tractor, that specialize in automating warehouse needs. And those needs are increasing with the popularity of big box stores and online retail demand, with companies like Amazon notoriously employing vast numbers of warehouse workers to meet the needs of the company’s fast-shipping guarantees. Recent supply chain pressures, too, will undoubtedly lead to more companies looking for ways to optimize or automate problems in the manufacturing and distribution pathways.
"I think what this shows is the market and commercial success that we’ve had — not just the technical success — and I think that’s an important inflection point for robotics companies," Jeff Christensen, Seegrid VP of Product.
He added that the ranking will also help Seegrid appeal to the often risk-averse larger companies that have experienced shipping delays since the onset of the pandemic. “This is mission critical production work for automotive manufacturers and e-commerce distribution and all of those things, so it’s a great testament to, you know, the hard work that we’ve put in here and to the traction that we’ve been able to get.”
Christensen only expects that demand for warehouse automation to increase, and thus sees this ranking as not just a win for Seegrid in the local robotics economy, but as one in the global landscape as well. Still, he acknowledges that news like this continues to drive home the message that Pittsburgh is more than simply a place to find robotics expertise, but a capital of it, as put forth this summer by the Pittsburgh Robotics Network (of which Seegrid is a member).