Kroger’s automated fulfillment center partner Ocado is acquiring a robotic arm designer and manufacturer and a piece-picking solution provider to bring even more automation to the world of online grocery.
Ocado revealed plans to acquire Kindred Systems and Haddington Dynamics for $262 million and $25 million, respectively. It said the deals would enhance its robotic manipulation capabilities and accelerate the commercial delivery of robotic picking for Ocado Smart Platform clients. Kroger has an agreement with Ocado to develop 20 highly automated grocery fulfillment centers throughout the U.S., the first of which could begin operation late next year.
“We consider the opportunities for robotic manipulation solutions to be significant, both for Ocado Smart Platform clients and across the fast-growing online retail and logistics sectors,” said Ocado CEO Tim Steiner. “Ocado has made meaningful progress in developing the machine learning, computer vision and engineering systems required for the robotic picking solutions that are currently in production at our Customer Fulfilment Centre in Erith (southeast of London). Given the market opportunity we want to accelerate the development of our systems, including improving their speed, accuracy, product range and economics.”Retail Leader