Amazon buys autonomous warehouse robotics startup

Business news |
By Rich Pell

According to Amazon, the two companies “share a common vision for a future where people work alongside robotics to further improve safety and the workplace experience.” Details of the deal were not disclosed.

Canvas Technology was founded in 2015 with a mission to “provide end-to-end autonomous delivery of goods.” Its debut product, launched in 2017, was the Canvas Autonomous Cart – offered as the world’s first autonomous industrial cart.

Designed to automate the transportation of materials in industrial settings, the carts use computer vision and real-time 3D mapping to navigate the unstructured environment of a warehouse floor without requiring maps or additional infrastructure. The robot carts are capable of navigating intelligently while sharing real-time 3D maps with other robots in the fleet, and are designed to safely interact with workers on the floor.

Amazon has been increasingly automating its fulfillment centers. In 2012, the company purchased shelving robotics provider Kiva Systems – now Amazon Robotics – for $775 million. Kiva’s short, orange robots automated the picking and packing process at large warehouses by enabling items that are to be shipped to be brought directly to employees to pick, pack, and stow.

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