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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.

FedEx Delivery Robots Not Particularly Welcome During NYC Visit

| Mike O'Brien

Maybe they should’ve stuck with “Walking in Memphis.” Several FedEx delivery robots, collectively dubbed Roxo, were seen prowling the streets of Manhattan recently, but instead of getting a red-carpet welcome they elicited some Bronx cheers, according to the New York Post. The city threatened to physically remove any it spotted.

Robotic Arm Startup Osaro Raises $16 Million in New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Osaro, a San Francisco startup that makes robotic arms for ecommerce picking as well as vision and control software that can be integrated with other robotic solutions, has raised $16 million in a series B round, according to various reports. Early investors include former Facebook president Sean Parker and PayPal founder Peter Thiel.

Robots Addressing Ecommerce Fulfillment Labor Issues

| Mike O'Brien

While there are some concerns about robots replacing humans and taking their jobs, with U.S. unemployment at about 3.6% ecommerce companies are struggling to find enough workers. Thus companies are seeing robotics as a way to close the gap and augment human labor instead of replacing it. Find out more in a new MCM report.

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CommonSense Robotics Goes Underground with Grocery Fulfillment

| Mike O'Brien

Israeli firm CommonSense Robotics is building what it says is the world’s first underground automated fulfillment operation for grocery delivery, anticipating a future where facilities like this will occupy abandoned urban spaces above and below ground to fulfill one-hour deliveries for city dwellers.