British online supermarket and technology group Ocado has agreed to buy materials handling robotics start-up Myrmex Inc for $10.2 million, it said on Monday.
Ocado acquired a minority stake in Athens-based Myrmex in 2020 and tasked it with developing a system that automates the loading of containers with customer orders onto frames ready for dispatch from Ocado's warehouses.
The 'Automated Frameload' solution it developed is set to go live in Ocado's warehouses later this year.
Tt is part of a suite of innovations, also including lightweight robots and hi-tech van routing systems, that Ocado unveiled in January.
Ocado said Myrmex's technology also has potential applications for store locations, specifically for automating the grocery order pick-up process.
From lightweight robots to hi-tech van routing systems, the online supermarket Ocado unveiled a suite of innovations on 27 January, it predicted would raise its returns and win new customers for its technology.
Ocado has already struck deals to provide its technology to supermarket groups in eight countries, including Kroger in the United States, Aeon in Japan, Casino in France and Coles in Australia, driving its market value to £10.7 billion ($14.5 billion).
The latest innovations include a robot that is 80% lighter than its predecessor and described by the company as "the world's lightest and most efficient grocery fulfilment bot," plus lighter warehouse grids for the bots to run on.
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