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Pickle, Robotic Arm for Fast Trailer Unloads, Picks Up Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Pickle, a startup that grew out of a lab at MIT and created a robotic arm that can unload up to 1,800 boxes an hour from a trailer, has raised $5.75 million to date and picked up 3PL and parcel shipping clients who have a need for speed. Dill can handle the 1,800 items per hour to a sorter, or 1,000 an hour directly to a putwall.

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Boston Dynamics Unveils Warehouse Robot Stretch

| Mike O'Brien

Boston Dynamics, creators of the viral dancing robots video just before New Year’s Eve, is making further inroads into the warehouse automation space with the unveiling this week of Stretch, a mobile robot purpose-built for unloading and palletizing and de-palletizing boxes. The company was acquired by Hyundai in December 2020.

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Nimble Robotics Takes In $50M, Adds AI Luminaries

| Mike O'Brien

Nimble Robotics, a maker of order picking and packing robots for ecommerce, is the latest fulfillment automation maker to join the massive VC gravy train of late in ecommerce technology, raising $50 million in Series A financing in a round led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures.

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Locus Robotics Now a Unicorn with New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses, has raised $150 million in a Series E round, led by Tiger Global Management and Bond, bringing its valuation to the unicorn level north of $1 billion as its business multiplies. The company is looking to expand in Europe and enter APAC in 2022.

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Do You Need Robots Now in Your Ecommerce FC?

| James Beale

We’re at a tipping point where automation is about to be a mainstream focus of ecommerce fulfillment centers. But while automation may be a sensible investment for bigger players like Amazon, that doesn’t mean it will scale effectively to smaller operations. So, are fully automated facilities really the future, and if so, what will it look like?

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Vargo Partners with Kindred, Fetch Robotics

| Mike O'Brien

Ecommerce fulfillment software and systems integration provider Vargo has partnered with robotics sortation and grasping robot maker Kindred and autonomous mobile robot (AMR) creator Fetch Robotics to help their systems better sync with order orchestration and workflows. This continues a recent trend of SI/robotics partnerships.

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Robotic Goods-to-Person Firm Exotec Raises $90 Million

| Mike O'Brien

French robotics firm Exotec, which lists Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo as a major client, has raised $90 million to power its global growth in ecommerce fulfillment. Founded in 2015, Exotec is built on a goods-to-person model with its Skypod bots which uses laser guidance to navigate a fulfillment center.

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Locus Robotics Raises $40 Million in New Funding Round

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, makers of autonomous mobile robots for carriers and 3PLs like UPS, DHL, Ceva Logistics, Taylored Services and ShipMonk, has raised more than $40 million in a Series D funding led Zebra Ventures, along with existing investors like Scale Venture Partners.

Amazon in Talks to Acquire Autonomous Vehicle Startup Zoox

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving car startup Zoox as it looks to expand its autonomous vehicle capabilities to address massive delivery costs, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has already invested heavily in autonomous technology, contributing to funding rounds for Aurora Innovation and Rivian Automotive LLC.

Walmart Expands Use of Scanning Robots, Launches MFC for Grocery

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is expanding its fleet of shelf-scanning robots, adding 650 this year for a total of 1,000 as it looks to address nettlesome grocery out-of-stock issues and battle competitors with the technology like Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle and Schnuck’s. It has also launched a micro fulfillment center at a New Hampshire store.