The consumer buying shift toward e-commerce is a fundamental change to retail. Even before the pandemic, e-commerce revenue was expected to grow from 3.98 percent of global retail revenue in 2012 to 26.01 percent in 2025. Now that countless people struggle to go out and physically obtain necessities, the number is rising even faster.
E-commerce has accelerated demand to optimize operations and order fulfillment in warehouses and distribution centers all over the world. For over a decade, collaborative robotic arms—arms that work safely around people—have been automating manufacturing processes. Now, collaborative autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) optimize internal logistics for manufacturing plants and warehouses.
Seeing the rising demand for autonomous mobility in manufacturing, IAM Robotics introduced a special robot in 2016: Swift™, an autonomous mobile manipulation robot (AMMR), which both moves and picks products. Illustrating Swift’s effectiveness, we secured a patent on October 10, 2017 for our technology that enables the robot to autonomously navigate human-friendly environments, identify the location of objects and pick individual items or bins. But Swift was just the first step in our mission to automate warehouse operations. So we created Bolt™, the latest advancement from IAM Robotics.
Bolt™ is an AMR Built for Collaboration
Having mastered autonomous navigation, large battery capacities, and other technologies with Swift™, IAM Robotics is bringing this same know-how to our newest autonomous mobile robot: Bolt. As a collaborative AMR, Bolt is designed to work with and around people for handling and transporting materials within and between zones inside a traditional warehouse environment. Bolt uses proprietary technology we’ve leveraged from our extensive experience in AMR development—bringing features unlike anything else in the industry.
Gearbox-Driven v. Direct-Drive Wheels
The gearbox-driven technology used in other AMRs has limitations, so we’ve developed our own solution with direct-drive wheels for improved safety. The connection provides for more sensitive force feedback, detecting lighter forces from any unintended collision. The direct connection also instantly transfers that response back to the motors that drive the wheels, stopping the robot quickly and reliably. Further, direct-drive wheels allow easy robot movement—even when Bolt is powered down.
Bolt has multiple state-of-the-art sensors, providing an unobstructed 360-degree field of view for obstacle detection and avoidance. Plus, the direct-drive wheel technology means the entire body of the robot (not just a few select areas) acts as a bump sensor to maximize safety in collaborative applications.
These safety features allow Bolt to offer the same type of power-force-torque limiting that made collaborative robotic arms essential for manufacturers. Business leaders knew they had something special when they saw that collaborative arms could be safely used alongside human workers. Bolt’s unique architecture enables it to do just that.
Safety Features Unique to Bolt
AMR safety requirements and guidelines are gradually being set, and discussions are still ongoing. However, at IAM Robotics, we believe Bolt’s construction addresses the growing demand for collaborative AMRs better than the competition.
Movement and safety aside, other features set Bolt above its competition:
- Ability to move gracefully at speeds up to 2 meters per second
- Industry-leading docking speed in 5 seconds or less
- Continuous runtime up to 20 hours on a single charge
- Autonomous battery charging
- Patented hot-swappable battery, easily replaced in 10 seconds or less
- Largest payload capacity in its size class at 300 kilograms
- Flexible top module interface for multiple payload options
- Intended to be modular to allow for scalability as needed
Top Module Customization
Bolt is customizable with interchangeable top modules to maximize its precision, scale, and functionality to meet material handling needs. A variety of standard top modules are available, including an option for handling dual totes measuring up to 600 by 800 millimeters each. Bolt also integrates with conveyors and supports other existing automation technologies for both conveyance and sortation.
Choose Bolt for Enhanced Warehouse Operations
Bolt is the AMR you’ve been waiting for. It’s your collaborative material handling partner, scaling with your business needs and integrating with your people and legacy automation. Thanks to first-in-class features, Bolt gives you the power to do more, faster, longer, and farther. Couple that with easy deployment, and you’ll understand the benefits of adding a fleet of Bolt robots to your business.