“The robotic pick opportunity in online grocery is of huge value to us and our clients globally,” says Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group.
We’ve made meaningful progress in developing the machine learning, computer vision and engineering systems required for the robotic picking. For example, we’ve doubled the pick and pack speeds of our robotic arms at the five pick-stations that are currently live in our CFC in Erith, UK.
Through the acquisition of Kindred and Haddington, Tim believes “we are massively accelerating our investment and our progress in this space”.
“This will mean”, he goes on to say, “our clients can roll out facilities that will have better economics.”
Kindred is an advanced AI-powered robotics company based in North America that designs, supplies and services sophisticated piece-picking robots for e-commerce and order fulfilment.
In developing their piece-picking robots that have AI-powered vision and motion control, Kindred was one of the first to use deep reinforcement learning, a form of artificial intelligence that improves the learning process of handling disparate items like those in grocery.
Their robotic picking solution is proven, currently live for customers within the general merchandise and logistics sectors. This represents a large and fast-growing new segment for Ocado Group.
Haddington is an advanced research and development company specialised in the design and manufacture of highly dextrous, lightweight, low-cost robotic arms, also based in North America.
The unique combination of the arms’ design, construction and control method unlock new opportunities of force guided robotic manipulation at a low cost that would otherwise not be possible.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be joining Ocado Group. Five years ago we were in a garage with a vision of taking this technology worldwide
Todd Enerson, President of Haddington Dynamics
Today’s announcement enhances Ocado Group’s existing capabilities, enabling us to accelerate the delivery of robotic picking for our partners around the world and support Kindred’s growth with its existing customers.
It firms up our position in a fast growing new vertical, as the world is showing a structural shift toward e-commerce.
Finally, as Marin Tchakarov, CEO of Kindred Systems says, “joining forces together will effectively create the foundations for probably the best robotics team in the world.”