ForwardX Robotics: Next-Gen Autonomous Mobile Robot Solutions Provider

Technology Author: Qinqie He, Katherine Oct 12, 2023 06:20 PM (GMT+8)

With its visionary visual navigation AMR and world-leading cluster scheduling system, as well as exceptional global sales, service, and operational capabilities, ForwardX Robotics’ rise to prominence cannot be ignored.


ForwardX Robotics (Chinese: 灵动科技), renowned as a pioneer and leader in the field of visual Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), is hailed as a key player in the fourth generation of AMRs worldwide. As a provider of "Assisted Picking"  person-to-goods solutions, it holds the top position in terms of shipment volume and market share in the Asian-Pacific region. 

Recently, EqualOcean had the privilege of interviewing the CEO of ForwardX Robotics. The following are excerpts from the interview: 

The Foundation of Providing Leading Person-to-Goods Automation Solutions

ForwardX Robotics’ product deployment takes approximately one month to complete without requiring additional professional training, as introduced by the CEO. The deployment process includes system integration with the customer's system, map creation, and final testing before going live. For specific positions such as warehouse managers and production line supervisors, the company provides a three-day training course ensure their proficiency in operating and maintaining the products. According to the CEO, logistics customers typically purchase around 50 robots on average, while manufacturing customers vary depending on project scale, generally around 100 units. Regardless of the scale, the deployment work can be completed within one month.

Regarding the performance and reliability of the robots, the CEO stated that their robots currently achieve an average uptime of 99.9%. Through real-time monitoring of backend data, the company can monitor the vehicles' operational status in real-time, ensuring a high level of operational stability. Furthermore, while the company has a limited number of after-sales teams, the occurrence of after-sales issues is minimal, indicating effective assurance of product stability and quality. 

In terms of components, ForwardX Robotics proudly announced that all components are 100% independently developed. Unlike other companies, they employ domestically produced lidar and achieve comparable precision and stability to imported lidars through software algorithms. This independent development strategy not only reduces costs but also ensures the reliability of product quality.

Regarding return on investment, the CEO mentioned that for logistics customers, on average, it takes approximately three years to achieve investment payback after purchasing the robots. Although manufacturing customers typically do not calculate return on investment, considering the improvement in logistics efficiency and reduction in production costs, they usually obtain considerable economic benefits within several years.

Aiming the Global Market Through Technological Innovation

When selecting overseas markets and sales channels, ForwardX Robotics considers factors such as local labor costs. The CEO pointed out that they primarily focus on regions with high labor costs, such as the United States, Europe, and Japan, as these areas have significant demand for human resources with relatively high costs. In terms of channels, ForwardX Robotics collaborates with channel partners who have a high market share and influence in the industry.

Regarding technological advancements, the CEO introduced ForwardX Robotics’ focus on the AMR field. He stated that the company's technological features primarily manifest in two aspects. Firstly, at the individual robot level, ForwardX Robotics’ team previously worked on autonomous driving technology, which they now apply to indoor AMRs using deep learning-based convolutional vision and laser inertial fusion technology. In terms of vision, ForwardX Robotics is one of the world's leading vendors in terms of the commercialization of visual AMR technology.

 Compared to its competitors, ForwardX Robotics stands out for its computer vision technology and independently developed neural networks. This neural network, similar to those used in autonomous driving technology, includes functionalities such as object detection and image segmentation. This enables their AMRs to have semantic understanding and analysis of the environment, fused with multiple sensors such as lasers and inertial navigation, providing a higher level of environmental perception.

In addition to its standalone technologies, ForwardX Robotics possesses a unique dispatching system similar to Didi's autonomous vehicle dispatching system. This system enables the logistics industry to achieve an “Assisted Picking” solution, a feat accomplished by only three companies globally. ForwardX Robotics’ dispatching system is primarily applied in two categories of mobile robot scenarios. The first category involves logistics within factories, including tasks such as material handling. The second category involves the post-factory logistics flow when goods leave the factory, encompassing various warehousing and distribution tasks. The dispatching system efficiently manages route selection and task allocation for vehicles, allowing multiple units to collaborate and maximize efficiency.

During an interview, the CEO demonstrated the workings of their dispatching system. Through a video presentation, he showcased the dispatching process in a Li&Fung’s warehouse using 45 autonomous mobile robots and 300 shelves. The video depicted the robots autonomously completing the picking tasks guided by the dispatching system, as well as consolidating the loads according to the order requirements. The entire dispatching system intelligently determines which orders should be consolidated onto the same vehicle and establishes the picking sequence. 

Compared to traditional dispatching systems, ForwardX’s system is more complex due to the vehicles operating without fixed tracks and with complete freedom of navigation. The optimization of the dispatching algorithm allows vehicles to collaborate and maximize output. The CEO likened this challenge to the scheduling algorithm for urban transportation, explaining that an optimized scheduling algorithm enables the same number of drivers to carry more passengers. ForwardX Robotics’ dispatching algorithm utilizes reinforcement learning techniques to achieve efficient logistics operations by optimizing overall collaboration.

Warehousing Automation Sets a Revolutionary Stage for the Logistics Industry

ForwardX Robotics proudly claims the top spot in the industry regarding “Assisted Picking” person-to-goods capabilities. Their unique visual navigation and mobile technology have reached a mature stage and are being applied on a large scale. Currently, ForwardX Robotics has deployed over 3,000 mobile robots with a 100% reaquisition rate. Furthermore, the company established teams in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Europe last year to replicate and expand into overseas markets.

During the interview, when discussing the trend of robots replacing human labor, the CEO of ForwardX Robotics mentioned that the penetration rate of logistics automation in some domestic factories remains relatively low. They identified two main reasons for this situation. First, factories need to consider economic factors, weighing manufacturing profit levels against labor costs when deploying robots. Second, the logistics automation equipment currently available in the market primarily caters to small-item warehouses, lacking automation solutions for large-scale and medium-to-large mixed warehouses.

However, as one of the few automation providers, ForwardX Robotics achieved a technological breakthrough to address the specific requirements of large and medium-to-large mixed warehouses, thereby ushering in a new era of warehouse automation. They emphasized that e-commerce giants like have over 50% of their warehouses categorized as medium-to-large mixed warehouses. Yet, the current automation equipment in the market cannot meet the demands of these warehouses. Therefore, ForwardX Robotics offers more solutions at the technical level, enabling mid-sized and large warehouses to achieve automation operations. 

Despite the current low penetration rate of logistics automation, ForwardX Robotics believes there is tremendous potential for automation in the industry as technology continues to advance. Their dispatching system and reinforcement learning algorithm allow mobile robots to collaborate and maximize transportation efficiency. The successful implementation by ForwardX Robotics enables warehouses to efficiently handle tens of thousands of orders and SKUs, bringing revolutionary changes to the entire industry.

ForwardX Robotics' leading position in the field of logistics automation and its continuous innovation in technological solutions establish the company as a trailblazer in the industry. With the expanding global market, ForwardX Robotics is introducing its unique logistics solutions to more countries and regions, making a positive contribution to the development of the global logistics industry.