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Grocery Fulfillment Tech Provider Ocado Goes All in on Robotics

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Ocado Group, a UK-based technology company providing end-to-end online grocery fulfilment solutions, has acquired two North America-based robotics companies — Kindred Systems and Haddington Dynamics — to accelerate its investment in robotics for picking and packing groceries.

“The robotic pick opportunity in online grocery is of huge value to us and our clients globally,” said Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group in a statement.

Kindred is an AI-powered robotics company that designs, supplies and services piece-picking robots for ecommerce and order fulfillment. In developing its piece-picking robots, which feature AI-powered vision and motion control, Kindred uses deep reinforcement learning, a form of artificial intelligence that improves the learning process of handling disparate items like those in grocery. Haddington is a research and development company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of dexterous, lightweight, low-cost robotic arms.

Ocado Group also holds a 50% share of Ocado Retail Ltd. in the UK, in a joint venture with Marks & Spencer. The solution provider also recently acquired a minority stake in robotics startup Myrmex Inc., and has appointed the company to design and develop a bespoke product for Ocado. Myrmex is a materials handling robotics startup with offerings including autonomous mobile robots and intelligent asset handling systems that help facilitate click-and-collect deliveries.

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