Retail

Robotics Startup Plans Automated Fulfillment Centers For All eGrocers

Delivery — particularly delivery on demand — is often an expensive logistical challenge for online retailers, but it is one that Israeli-based artificial intelligence (FI) startup CommonSense Robotics thinks it can help to solve, VentureBeat reported. The robotics firm recently raised $20 million in a Series A funding round to see if it can develop a broadly functional automated fulfillment center, one any retailer could use to deliver goods to customers within an hour.

The goal, according to CommonSense Robotics, is to make it possible for small retailers to keep pace with eCommerce giant Amazon by offering their own speedy dispatch and delivery services.

The term the firm has developed for its offering is “automated fulfillment as a service,” and the strategy is to build a network of high-capacity micro-fulfillment centers by leveraging underutilized spaces in urban areas such as underground car parks.

CommonSense Robotics will own and “man” the hubs, with retailers paying a fee per order. The system could even accommodate retailers that wanted to “own” a hub of their own, also allowing them to offer up their own underused space to build facilities. CommoneSense did, however, note this will not be its main focus.

Beyond the concept on its own, and the fact that the firm’s offerings will certainly involve robots, little is known about the overall design of the hubs. The company has disclosed that the main focus will initially be the grocery industry, though the health and beauty segments are potential areas of future interest.

“Continued interest from investors is a major vote of confidence in our company and in our vision to make on-demand retail accessible to consumers and retailers alike,” noted CommonSense Robotics co-founder and CEO Elram Goren. “The epicenter of this shift is a drastic change to how food is accessed, bought, paid for and eventually prepared. We are excited to be facilitating a paradigm shift around how grocers sell and consumers access food.”

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