Strategic agreement calls for fleet of Boston Dynamics robots to be deployed across more than 20 facilities over the next two years, to position retailer for the future
Hamburg, Germany / Waltham, MA, USA – September 11, 2023 – The Otto Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce retailers, has signed a strategic agreement with Boston Dynamics, the global leader in mobile robotics, to continue automating its logistics operations. The plan is to deploy Boston Dynamics' Spot® robots in more than 10 and Stretch™ robots in more than 20 of the group's facilities over the next two years, beginning with Hermes Fulfilment. The deployment supports Otto Group’s efforts to improve safety, increase operational efficiency and address labor shortages for specific types of warehouse work and the agreement marks the first time both of Boston Dynamics’ commercially available robots will be deployed together at enterprise scale.
Under the terms of the agreement, Spot, the four-legged mobile robot from Boston Dynamics, will support tunnel inspections and predictive maintenance activities for operations equipment, including thermal monitoring, analog gauge reading and acoustic detection of pressurized air and gas leaks. The Spot fleet will also run autonomous missions, collecting data for machine learning models to support tasks like fire exit egress monitoring and detecting slight changes in storage racks to keep Otto Group’s warehouses even safer. In addition, the Otto Group will be utilizing Stretch, Boston Dynamics’ box-moving robot designed for warehouse applications. Stretch will begin unloading containers at 10 facilities next year, with the goal of having all sites operational by the end of 2025. Stretch, which is particularly useful for unloading heavy packages in the container sector, will provide technological support for physically demanding activities.
"The cooperation with Boston Dynamics is another important step for us to position ourselves for the future,” says Kay Schiebur, Member of the Executive Board, Services, Otto Group, and adds “We strive for the best service for our customers and an innovative work environment for our employees. Robotics and AI are and will become even more central components of our daily work.”
The Otto Group offers a comprehensive training program to equip staff with the skills to work with robotics and AI. More than 10,000 warehouse and facility workers have participated in the company’s TechUcation virtual training courses so far. This training is supplemented with concrete on-site training, enabling existing job profiles to develop digitally and shape the future together.
“We have learned to adapt quickly and flexibly to new market situations, which makes us strong for the future,” emphasizes Schiebur. The Otto Group and Boston Dynamics also plan to collaborate on research and development, including additional future use cases for both Spot and Stretch robots over the next several years.
“As one of Europe’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies, the Otto Group is an excellent fit for our technology,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “This agreement represents a strategic collaboration that will benefit both our companies for years to come, and we look forward to seeing the value our mobile robots can provide when combined with Otto Group’s deep expertise in logistics and fulfilment.”
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Founded in 1949 in Germany, the Otto Group is today a globally operating e-commerce and service Group with around 43,000 employees in 30 significant corporate groups, primarily present in the three economic areas of Germany, the rest of Europe, and the USA. Its business activities extend to the Platforms, Brand Concepts, Retailers, Services, and Financial Services segments. In the 2021/22 financial year (28 February), the Otto Group generated revenue of EUR 16.1 billion. With online sales of around EUR 12.1 billion, the Otto Group is among the world’s largest online retailers. The Group’s main strength is its broad-based presence with various ranges of products for diverse target groups in important regions around the world. A number of strategic partnerships and joint ventures offer the Otto Group outstanding conditions for the transfer of know-how and the use of synergy potential. A high degree of entrepreneurial responsibility and the Group companies’ will to collaborate guarantee both flexibility and customer proximity along with optimal appeal to target groups in each country.
Boston Dynamics is the global leader in developing and deploying highly mobile robots capable of tackling the toughest industrial challenges. Our robots are equipped with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence, enabling automation in unstructured or hard-to-traverse spaces, from manufacturing facilities, power plants, and construction sites to warehouses and distribution centers. We have three robots in our portfolio: Spot®, a quadruped that conducts industrial inspections for enterprise asset management; Stretch™, a box-moving robot currently being deployed with logistics and retail customers; and Atlas®, our bipedal research and development platform. For more information on our company and our technologies, please visit www.bostondynamics.com.