In an interesting move, Amazon has acquired Canvas Technology, a robotics startup based in Bouldor, Colorado which deals with autonomous carts that can move around warehouses, according to a report by TechCrunch. The deal makes great sense from the outside as Amazon is trying hard to fix the missing pieces in its portfolio of fulfilment centre machines.
Speaking about the acquisition, a spokesperson from the company said, “We are inspired by Canvas Technology‘s innovations, and share a common vision for a future where people work alongside robotics to further improve safety and the workplace experience.”
Since its inception in 2015, the company has carved a niche for itself and has developed a fully autonomous cart system and has positioned itself as a direct competitor to the Bay Area-based Fetch. The startup has raised nearly $15 million in Series A funding led by Playground Global.
The world’s leader in online retail business, Amazon has been making a constant effort to automate its fulfilment centre, with robots originally from Kiva Systems which the company acquired in 2012 for $775 million. The Canvas Autonomous Cart will be a great addition to Amazon’s repertoire as it utilizes 3D imaging and an in-house software solution which can be applied to other hardware — essentially operating like a self-driving car in a warehouse setting.
Currently, Amazon has nearly 100,000 systems deployed across 25 fulfilment centres and it includes its own systems and systems from third parties like the Japanese company Fanuc. It is very much clear that the company is looking to push forward the case of increased delivery efficiency through automation.
Safety is another aspect that the company is looking with great care and it is trying its best to increase the safety of people working alongside robots in warehouses. Earlier this year, the company also designed a safety vest designed to give employees an added layer of protection when entering the fenced-off section of the floor that sports the Kiva systems.