Ocado has completed the $262 million acquisition of artificial intelligence-powered piece picking robotics company Kindred Systems.
Kindred Systems, founded in 2014, is one of the first firms to use “deep reinforcement learning” to develop its robots, which use AI-powered vision and robotic arms to pick and sort items “with human like intelligence”.
The company, whose 90 staff members will now be integrated into Ocado, is expected to have 180 robots operational by the end of the year.
Its robots, which are already used by retail brands like Gap, are expected to generate revenues of $35 million throughout 2021.
“I am delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of Kindred Systems and to formally welcome the team to Ocado,” Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner said.
“We look forward to working together to accelerate the development of robotic picking solutions, improving their speed, accuracy, product range and economics, which will benefit our Ocado Solutions partners as well as Kindred Systems’ existing customers.”
Over the past two years Ocado has largely shifted its focus to its Solutions business, which provides third party retailers with its cutting-edge automated technology.
After penning its first deal to provide its robotic solutions to France’s Groupe Casino in 2017, Ocado has signed a further eight deals across the world to date with various major retailers like Kroger in the US.
Subsequently Ocado is no longer viewed as a retailer, but more as a technology company by investors.