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McNulty et al – A review of Li-ion batteries for autonomous mobile robots: Perspectives and outlook for the future – Journal of Power Sources, 2022, 545, 2022

David McNultyab, Aaron Hennessyab, Mei Liab, Eddie Armstrongbc, Kevin M. Ryanab*
aDepartment of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, V94 T9PX, Ireland.
bConfirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing, Park Point, Limerick, V94 C928, Ireland.
cJohnson & Johnson, The National Technology Park, Limerick, V94 YHY9, Ireland.
Corresponding author: Kevin M. Ryan (kevin.m.ryan@ul.ie)

Received: 31 May 2022; Received in revised form: 20 July 2022; Accepted: 3 August 2022; Available Online: 12 August 2022.
Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775322009260?via%3Dihub

• Batteries for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
• Review of pre-existing AMR technologies.
• AMR operation.
• Anode and cathode materials.
• Recommendations for future Li-ion batteries for AMR.

The development of advanced autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) is essential for achieving the flexible work environment necessary for smart manufacturing. Complex perception, locomotion and navigation systems comprised of many sensors and powerful processors allow AMRs to continuously monitor their surroundings and internal systems. AMRs that can move freely around an industrial facility are increasingly required for 24/7 industrial processes. The energy requirements of AMRs can include the need for high power for tasks such as lifting and transporting as well as low power for the various onboard sensors. Total operating time between charges is dependent on factors such as distance travelled, payload power consumption, payload/cargo mass and AMR attachments such as tilt trays or robotic arms. This review discusses pre-existing commercial AMRs, their power consumption and compares the specifications of battery packs which are being used in the current generation of AMRs. This is followed by a detailed discussion about lithium-ion battery operation and recommendations for cathode and anode materials to replace traditionally used electrode materials to meet the growing power demands of next generation AMRs in the short to medium term (5–10 years) and in the long term (10+ years).

Examples of fetch robots with different applications. (a) MiR250 AMR by Mobile Industrial Robots with a flat surface on top. (b) RollerTop fetch AMR made by Fetch Robotics. (c) CartConnect AMR, made by Fetch Robotics. (d) Freight1500, made by Fetch Robotic.