Stationary vs. mobile robots: What's the difference?

May 21, 2024
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What are stationary robots?

Stationary robots, as the name suggests, stay in one place. They’re designed to do repetitive tasks in a fixed area. 

To do so, they typically operate on a pre-programmed path or sequence.

What are mobile robots?

Mobile robots, unlike stationary robots fixed in one place, can move around freely. 

They have wheels, tracks or legs to navigate on their own. Many can map their environment, sense obstacles, and change direction based on their programming.

What are the main differences between stationary robots and mobile robots?

So, are there any differences between these two bots beyond the fact that fixed robots can move and mobile robots zoom around? 


Here are some key differences to keep in mind:

  • Movement (or lack thereof). Stationary robots are bolted down and can’t move, while mobile robots are designed for traveling between locations. Mobile robots need a power source for locomotion, like rechargeable batteries, while stationary robots just need a power cable.
  • Flexibility and re-deployability. Stationary robots typically perform a single, day-in-day-out task, like welding or painting. Mobile robots can be more flexible since they can access different work areas. They’re often used for material transport, automated guided vehicles, security patrols, and exploring hazardous environments.
  • Costs vary. Stationary robots are usually cheaper since they don’t require components for mobility and navigation. Mobile robots need extra parts like motors, wheels, and a guidance system, which adds to the overall cost.

Applications of stationary and fixed robots

We’re going to go out on a limb here, but fixed robots don’t really… move around. So, they’re ideal for repetitive tasks in a fixed location.


You've probably seen stationary robots hard at work on assembly lines in factories. They can lift and maneuver heavy parts to assemble products with precision. 

Automakers, in particular, rely on these robots to help build cars and their components efficiently.

A big asset for quality testing

Some companies use stationary robots to test products under controlled conditions. They can bend, drop, scratch, or otherwise stress test items to make sure that quality and durability are maintained. 

Since they never get tired, they help ensure consistent results. 

Machines tending machines

Stationary robots are excellent for loading and unloading parts from other machines, such as CNC machines, injection molding machines, or stamping presses. 

They can feed raw materials into a machine and remove finished parts quickly — and tirelessly.

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Applications of mobile robots

The mobility of (redundancy intended) mobile robots allows them to navigate on the ground, in the air, or underwater. 

Some of the most common applications of mobile robots include:

Where no man has gone before

Mobile robots are perfect for exploring dangerous or inaccessible environments. Space rovers have explored the surface of Mars, while autonomous underwater vehicles can dive deep into the ocean. 

These robots can go where humans can’t.

Keeping it moving

Mobile robots are transforming transportation and logistics. Self-driving cars and drones can transport people and packages efficiently. Some companies are testing mobile robots for delivering everything from pizza to medical supplies.

Keeping military personnel out of danger

On the other hand, many militaries use mobile robots for reconnaissance, surveillance, and bomb disposal. Unmanned ground vehicles and drones can access areas that are too dangerous for humans. Some are even armed and used for combat.

Helping out elsewhere

Service robots with mobility are starting to assist humans in homes, hospitals, and businesses. Mobile robots can deliver supplies in hospitals, help customers in stores, and even vacuum your floors at home. 

Pros and cons of stationary robots

Now, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of stationary robots: 

  • On the plus side, stationary robots are usually cheaper since they don’t require components like wheels or navigation systems. They’re also very precise because they operate in a fixed area. This makes them well-suited for delicate work where accuracy is key.
  • The downside is that stationary robots can’t adapt to changes easily. If you need to reconfigure an assembly line or production process, it may require reprogramming the robots. They also can’t multitask or move between different jobs. Once installed, stationary robots are locked into doing a single, dedicated task.

Pros and cons of mobile robots

Mobile robots have their plus and minuses as well:

  • On the plus side, mobile robots offer enhanced flexibility, easily moving between different locations and adapting to changing environments, making them a big win for diverse tasks and layouts.
  • On the downside, mobile robots typically have higher upfront and maintenance costs due to their complex components and advanced technology, rely on rechargeable batteries that can limit their operating time and require regular charging breaks, and can be complex to program for safe and efficient navigation, requiring sophisticated algorithms and sensors to avoid obstacles and collisions.

Which is right for your needs?

Basically, you’ll have to think about how much movement and flexibility you’re going to need:

  • If you need a robot that stays put to do repetitive tasks like assembly line work, a stationary robot is perfect. These automated machines are ideal for high-volume production. They're fast, efficient, and consistent. 
  • On the other hand, if you need a robot that can maneuver around, check out mobile robots. These wheeled or walking robots can navigate their environment. They're great for exploring dangerous areas, moving materials in warehouses, or helping out in hospitals. 

Summing up

So which type of robot is right for you? Weigh your options: 

If the work stays put, stationary robots get the job done. 

If you need flexibility and mobility, mobile robots are going to get things done.

Either way, think long and hard about your budget and your business needs. But one thing’s for sure: You’re going to need some form of automation sooner rather than later!

Next steps

Supercharge your operations with RO1 by Standard Bots, a cutting-edge six-axis robotic arm engineered for peak performance and adaptability. 

  • Cost-effective automation: With RO1, you’ll get the power of advanced robotics at half the price of competing robots — without sacrificing performance. 
  • Top-of-the-line strength and precision: Effortlessly handle payloads of up to 18 kg with unbeatable speed and accuracy, minimizing errors and maximizing output.
  • Intelligent adaptability: Equipped with powerful AI comparable to GPT-4, RO1 learns and adapts continuously to your evolving production needs, ensuring optimal performance at every stage.
  • Prioritized safety and collaboration: RO1 is designed for easy collaboration with your team, prioritizing safety through advanced vision capabilities and intelligent sensors that facilitate secure interaction.

Contact us today to schedule a free 30-day trial and see firsthand how RO1 can transform your business!

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