Three essential books on warehouse robotics


The surge in e-commerce and omnichannel retailing has placed immense pressure on warehouses to operate with greater efficiency, speed, and scalability. As a result, robotics is rapidly transforming the logistics landscape, presenting exciting opportunities for startups specializing in warehouse automation solutions. To navigate this burgeoning field effectively, a deep understanding of the underlying principles, technologies, and best practices is crucial. Fortunately, several insightful books delve into these crucial aspects, providing valuable guidance for aspiring innovators.

1. Mobile Robot Automation in Warehouses: A Framework for Decision Making and Integration (2023) by Alp Yildirim, Hendrik Reefke, and Emel Aktas

Mobile Robot Automation in Warehouses

This timely publication focuses on the burgeoning role of mobile robot systems (MRS) in warehouse operations. Recognizing the growing demand for agility and flexibility in order fulfillment, the authors highlight the advantages of MRS compared to traditional, manual processes. They delve into the challenges decision-makers face when implementing MRS, noting the lack of comprehensive frameworks to guide system selection and deployment.

The book offers an integrated decision framework covering strategic, tactical, and operational levels to address this gap. This framework empowers warehouse managers to systematically evaluate and choose the most suitable MRS based on their needs. Additionally, the authors explore critical considerations like change management, operational control, path planning, and human-robot interaction, preparing readers for the complexities of real-world implementation.

This book is particularly valuable for academics, students, and digital warehousing and logistics practitioners. It provides a wealth of information and practical guidance, making it an essential resource for anyone navigating the dynamic world of mobile robot automation.

2. Robotics in Industry (2017) by Claudia Martin

Robotics in Industry

While not exclusively focused on warehouse robotics, this book offers a captivating historical journey through the evolution of industrial robots. Through engaging text and visually rich illustrations, Martin presents a comprehensive overview of robots’ profound impact on various industries throughout history. This provides valuable context for understanding warehouse automation’s current state and future potential.

Beyond its historical scope, the book offers insights into the core engineering principles and technological advancements that have driven the development of industrial robots. This knowledge is fundamental for designing and building effective warehouse automation solutions. While primarily aimed at individuals interested in STEM fields, the book’s engaging style and accessible language make it a worthwhile read for anyone curious about the fascinating world of industrial robotics.

3. Automation in Warehouse Development (2011) by Roelof Hamberg and Jacques Verriet

Automation in Warehouse Development

As the title suggests, this book explores the future of warehousing, where automation plays a central role. It delves into the gradual shift from human-operated processes to automated systems, highlighting the benefits of increased efficiency and resilience against labor shortages. The authors also emphasize the growing importance of model-based design in creating customized warehouse solutions tailored to individual needs.

Drawing on the collaborative “Falcon” project, the book presents cutting-edge research and practical applications in model-based control design, analytical modeling, robotic item handling, and autonomous transport systems. This detailed exploration makes it a valuable resource for academic researchers and industry professionals seeking to stay at the forefront of warehouse automation and design.

By providing diverse perspectives and insights, these three books offer invaluable guidance for startups venturing into warehouse robotics. Whether you seek a practical framework for implementing mobile robot systems, historical context for the robotics revolution, or cutting-edge research on model-based design, these resources can equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to navigate this dynamic and transformative field.