Warehouse automation is picking up, and in the near future, we think it will take over manual warehouse processes completely. The improved picking accuracy, reduced labor, and lowered costs make it an easy choice between automated vs manual.

However, choosing the right solution for your business might feel more complicated. Warehouse automation technology is continually developing, and different solutions offer both distinct advantages and downsides.

Here’s a quick overview on some common automated warehouse systems, and how they stack up.


AMRs are autonomous mobile robots that self-navigate around warehouses transporting goods and performing inventory checks or other tasks.

AGVs are vehicles that transport goods around a warehouse, typically programmed to follow a specific path.

Both AMRs and AGVs are categorized as “mobile robots,” and share many strengths and weaknesses as well as use cases.


  • Can be easily implemented in existing warehouse structures without disrupting operations
  • No need to build physical tracks or rails
  • Can transport large amounts of inventory by moving entire pallets of goods


  • No storage density improvements
  • Limited scaling possibilities (traffic)
  • Primary use case is to replace conveyors – less suitable for product retrieval in warehouses with high density storage



Shuttles are a type of ASRS in which mobile robots called “shuttles” travel across tracks between shelved inventory, using load-handling devices to retrieve and transport products to vertical lifts. Shuttle systems typically comprise multiple aisles and levels, and shuttles can move to serve aisles and levels as needed.



  • One of the fastest solutions
  • Ideal for dynamic, high-volume contexts
  • Able to handle various formats such as pallets, cases, cartons, bins, and totes
  • Can be built to great heights for greater capacity, with multiple levels and aisles
  • Minimal risk of human injury involved in product picking
  • Ease of inventory management



  • Requires specialized maintenance personnel on site
  • Single points of failure – if a lift fails, then it reduces productivity of entire system
  • Requires specialized personnel
  • Requires space-consuming aisles
  • Difficult to scale


Cube-based storage is a high density storage solution that replaces shelving and aisles with a grid in which bins are stacked closely together. Robots travel along the top of the grid, lifting and moving bins to retrieve inventory as needed, then delivering the bin to access ports for product picking.


  • The densest storage solution
  • Minimal risk of human injury involved in product picking
  • Ease of inventory management
  • Highly scalable in performance (adding robots and ports) and capacity (adding bins and expanding grid)
  • Highly modular and can be built around obstacles and space constraints
  • No single point of failure means high uptime and reliable function
  • Low need for specialized training for use


  • Standardized bin sizes can’t always accommodate all product types
  • Maximum height of 10 meters
  • Business case is affected by order profile (worse ABC structure = more robots = higher investment)



ACRs are a relatively new G2P hybrid system – they combine elements of AMRs, AGVs, and ASRSs and are designed to handle caseloads of inventory.


  • Various models within the ACR family can address different storage needs and products
  • Can move totes and cartons of different sizes, double-deep storage, tray, and tire storage that don’t require containers
  • Hybrid solution which combines strengths of various technologies


  • Maximum height of 10 meters
  • Need for aisles reduces storage density



As you gain familiarity with this technology, you'll start to understand what solutions make most sense for your business. Scalability, speed, ease of installation, etc....these factors will inform your decision. And if you want to learn more about warehouse automation technology, don't hesitate to reach out to our team of warehouse experts. We'd be happy to talk shop with you.