British software and robotics firm, Ocado Group, has reportedly unveiled its latest suite of innovations aimed at retail and grocery delivery, ranging from lightweight robots to hi-tech van routing systems.
The company’s new robot is 80 percent lighter than its previous model and has been described as the world’s lightest as well as most efficient bot for grocery fulfillment. Along with that, lighter warehouse grids have also been released for the bots to run on.
Other new products include a routing system that allows for the delivery of short lead-time orders as well as of larger and longer lead-time orders from the same van, along with a virtual distribution center that cuts down on costs related to in-bound stock.
The firm has supposedly also automated the process for loading customer orders onto delivery frames that are to be dispatched.
Ocado predicts the innovations will increase its return and attract new customers and has already struck deals with supermarket groups across eight countries to provide its technology, including Kroger in the United States, Coles in Australia, Casino in France, and Aeon in Japan.
The firm also stated that it had developed robotic arms that work with bots and can automatically pick and pack customer orders directly from the grid, and are expected to be capable of picking up almost 50% of its product range by the end of 2023, and 80% in the long run.
Tim Steiner, co-founder and CEO of Ocado, stated that the new abilities will allow the group and its partners for installing platforms faster in simpler and highly optimized buildings while needing lesser capital expenditure.
Steiner stated that its partners will not only achieve better product throughput with the same, or even smaller, building footprint, reducing up to 30% labor costs in the medium term and 40% in the longer term, tackling labor shortage as well.
While the innovations can be retrofitted at their partner’s existing warehouses, Steiner said that any warehouse opened by the partners from the next year's end onwards can also take advantage of the new tech.