Amazon Invests $1 Billion in Warehouse Robotics

Amazon has formed the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund (AIIF), a $1 billion venture capital fund that will be used to “spur supply chain, fulfilment, and logistics innovation,” with a particular focus on automation and workplace robotics.

The initiative is in response to a changing market scenario in which people are increasingly shopping online and have high expectations for delivery times and online experiences. Amazon’s new fund seeks to create solutions that either improve these features or improve the experience of storage and logistics employees.

“We see an opportunity to look beyond our own experience and empower companies that are developing emerging technologies in customer fulfillment operations, logistics, and the supply chain,” said Alex Ceballos Encarnacion, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide corporate development. “We’re excited to help advance these technologies as online shopping becomes even more important to people who are looking for more convenience and time savings.

“With our scale, Amazon is committed to investing in companies that will ignite innovation in emerging technologies that can help improve employee experiences and safety while seamlessly coexisting with workforces across the supply chain, logistics, and other industries,” he added.

Computer vision firm Vimaan, autonomous robotics startup BionicHIVE, and Mantis Robotics, a San Francisco-based group creating a robotic arm that harnesses sensor technologies, are among the companies included in the fund’s initial round of investments.

“Investing in companies that are driving the next generation of industrial innovation can have impact across communities — globally, regionally and locally,” said Bob O’Donnell, founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research. “It’s great to see Amazon make these investments in companies in the U.S. and around the world, as historically, ongoing investment in innovation has shown to have a positive economic impact.”

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