ProMat Preview

Autonomous Vehicle solutions on display at ProMat 2017

Guest Blog by Meghan Hennessey, OTTO Motors

It’s been two years in the making, but now the countdown is officially on – ProMat 2017 is almost here. Held April in Chicago at McCormick Place, this year’s event features 950 exhibitors and nearly 40,000 attendees – many of which are key decision makers in material handling. So what will be different this year? What can attendees expect that’s new and exciting? We sat down with Director of Sales, Greg Baer to get all the details.

This year’s theme is ‘Solve for X’, meaning supply chain professionals can discover solutions that will take their operation to the next level of success. Show floor seminars, exhibitors and keynote speakers will serve as a channel to identify core problems in the supply chain and provide insight into the types of technologies and services that can help businesses adapt in today’s competitive market.


Brand new to ProMat this year is the Autonomous Vehicle Solution Center that will host Feature Presentations daily. The center will feature an array of autonomous systems including automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), self-driving vehicles (SDVs), delivery drones and automated cranes.

“Our attendees come from the material handling and logistics industry and are facing demands from their customers like never before. My children, ages 7 and 12, think a 1 week delivery promise is humorous – next day delivery is expected now,” said Greg Baer, Director of Sales at ProMat. “We hope our attendees facing these demands are able to attend the Autonomous Vehicle Pavilion at ProMat 2017, participate in the educational sessions, engage in a dialogue with thought leaders behind the technology, and leave with a better understanding of the art of the possible.”


The Autonomous Vehicle Pavilion was developed as a result of attendee research performed during and after the ProMat 2015 Show. The research indicated a thirst to learn how autonomous technology, from drones to driverless vehicles, will disrupt supply chains and the warehousing/distribution space in the short and mid term. This research was in line with what over 100 industry thought leaders had to say about the future of material handling and logistics in the Material Handling & Logistics US Roadmap.


“Developing a large demo area at ProMat was initially discussed but as we spoke with prospective exhibitors we came to the conclusion a theater area would be more beneficial for this new pavilion,” explained Baer. “Many questions persist about the applicability and capability of drones and driverless technology so we wanted to create a town hall setting where show attendees could learn from and interact with the experts behind the technology that is shaping the supply chain of tomorrow.”

Among the speakers throughout the week, Flirtey, OTTO Motors, and Advanced Aircraft will discuss topics that cover material transport automation in the air and on the ground. Flirtey made the first drone delivery of a sandwich and a Slurpee from a 7-Eleven to a customer, while OTTO Motors was one of the first companies to apply self-driving vehicle technology indoors to enable flexible material transport. Advanced Aircraft will showcase its hybrid drone designed to run up to 3 hours of flight time and carry a 10 lb payload.

Each speaker will also showcase a booth space at ProMat. OTTO Motors will showcase its self-driving vehicles in the South Hall at booth 4846. Stop by to learn how the technology combines the flexibility of people, efficiency of conveyors and the safety of automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

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