The idea of renting as opposed to purchasing vehicles has started to gain traction in material handling businesses, according to Cyngn’s Luke Renner.
Robotics as a Service (RaaS) is growing quickly and has begun to gain traction in the material handling industry.
What is Robotics as a Service?
Well, anything that’s “as a service” means that the business model is moving from ownership to a license, lease or rental with a subscription service. When you buy equipment or vehicles, you become responsible for maintenance, upgrades, wear and tear items, etc. But when you rent, you change the pattern of how you use the equipment and your relationship with the seller or service provider.
Robotics as a Service is a new avenue to bring industrial self-driving vehicles to new customers.
Why is this Shift Happening and What are the Benefits?
In the past, industrial vehicles have depended on the “Buy It and Use It” model. But the “As a Service” model has many advantages, which is why material handling organizations are starting to think about this option.
The biggest advantage of the RaaS model is that vehicles are maintained by the service provider. Take self-driving vehicles as an example. For the end user, autonomous vehicles are very simple to operate. You simply push a couple of buttons and the vehicle drives to the next station.
But, under the hood the technology is complex, and so sending all of that maintenance to an outside organization makes the vehicles much easier to work with. The end user gets to take advantage of advanced technology without having to staff up and train a maintenance crew.
What’s more, users have the ability to expand or contract their fleets, based on changing demand. For example, a business may choose to bring in more autonomous vehicles during their busy season to increase the speed by which goods can be processed.
The final advantage of the RaaS model is that by shifting from the "Buy It and Use It" model to a rental model, costs become more predictable and can be spread out. Instead of purchasing an autonomous vehicle outright, you can reduce your payments by extending them out over time.
Additionally, Columbia has several dealers that offer rental fleets of traditional Columbia vehicles. To find out more, check out what Kirt Little, President of Southwest Toyota Lift, had to say earlier this month on the Columbia blog: State of the Rental Industry Interview.