- Amazon confirmed its purchase of Colorado-based robotics startup Canvas Technology.
- Canvas specializes in autonomous technology — specifically autonomous carts. Videos of the company's robots show wheeled carts with shelving that could be used for moving orders around a fulfillment center or parts around a warehouse. Its autonomous technology allows it to navigate freely while avoiding people or other obstacles.
- "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," an Amazon spokesperson told sister publication Supply Chain Dive in an email.
This latest purchase by Amazon is one of several deals focused on automating various aspects of e-commerce fulfillment.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced it was entering a seven-year agreement with Balyo, a French company that sells autonomous forklifts. And this automation journey largely began in 2012 when it bought the robotics company Kiva, which makes small orange robots that can autonomously carry items around a warehouse. The Kiva robots carry inventory pods to pikers who then select the correct item for an order. It's not yet clear how the addition of the Balyo and Canvas technologies would be used in this existing environment.
Kiva was folded into Amazon Robotics, which "automates fulfillment center operations using various methods of robotic technology including autonomous mobile robots, sophisticated control software, language perception, power management, computer vision, depth sensing, machine learning, object recognition, and semantic understanding of commands," according to its website.
The Amazon spokesperson did not comment on the plans for Canvas Technology going forward when asked if it would maintain its name and independent operations.