AMA: What do the light strips on AMRs mean?

OTTO Motors

In this blog series, manufacturing facilities and warehouses ask their top industry and product questions, and OTTO Motors’ material flow experts answer them.

If you have an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) in your facility today or if you have simply seen them in action, you may have noticed the flashing lights around the outside of the robot. While these lights may seem like an aesthetic feature, they actually help the robots communicate crucial information with the other people in the manufacturing or warehouse facility.

Coupled with audible indications, the light strips around an AMR help workers understand the robots’ intended behaviors, improving performance and more importantly, safety.

What do the light strips on AMRs mean?

The light strips on AMRs communicate the robot’s state, status, and intentions through different colors and patterns:

  • The lights communicate battery status, loading and unloading states, emergency warnings, and more. The signals enhance human-robot interaction, safety, and efficiency by providing clear and intuitive communication.
  • The light patterns can also indicate directional intent to avoid accidents or near accidents, much like turn signals on a car. For example, the light strip on OTTO AMRs will blink yellow in its turn direction when turning.
  • Although the specific color codes or patterns may vary between manufacturers, the essential notion of using light signals for human-robot communication remains consistent, facilitating interoperability in multi-robot operations.

Understanding the meaning of the light strips on AMRs is important for the workers sharing a space with the robots. From operators and engineers to shop floor workers, awareness of these light patterns is key in promoting safety, operational efficiency, and seamless integration into human-led processes.

To learn what each visual indication and audible indication means, check out our publicly available technical documentation. For example, in the video below, the corners of OTTO 1500 flash red during a safety stop, such as when a person walks directly in front of the robot's path.

Written by Bobby, Director of User Experience at OTTO Motors.

Discover more