Agility Robotics raises $150M for its bipedal warehouse robots

Agility Robotics raises $150M for its bipedal warehouse robots

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Oregon-based robotics startup Agility Robotics Inc. today announced that it has closed a $150 million funding round led by DCVC and Playground Global.

The round also included the participation of a half dozen other backers, including Inc.’s newly launched Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund. The online retail and technology giant announced the investment vehicle earlier this week. The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund will invest $1 billion in companies developing technologies that can improve worker safety throughout organizations’ supply chains and increase operational efficiency.

Agility Robotics has developed a bipedal robot called Digit for use in environments such as e-commerce warehouses. Digit (pictured) features a built-in battery that allows it to operate for up to three hours per charge. The robot can pick up boxes, place them on a shelf, carry merchandise from one part of a warehouse to another and automatically maneuver around obstacles.

Agility Robotics was founded in 2015 by Chief Executive Officer Damion Shelton and Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Hurst. The startup debuted its first robot, the predecessor of Digit, in 2017. Three years later, Agility Robotics inked a deal with Ford Motor Co. to sell its first two Digit robots to the automaker. 

Ford stated at the time that it was planning to evaluate whether Digit could be used for package delivery. The vision is to have robots carry merchandise from a delivery vehicle to customers’ doorsteps. Additionally, Ford said that it intends to explore opportunities to sync data such as maps between its vehicles and Agile Robotics’ robots.  

“Unprecedented consumer and corporate demand have created an extraordinary need for robots to support people in the workplace,” said Agility Robotics CEO Damion Shelton.

The startup’s newly closed $150 million funding round will support its commercialization efforts. 

Agility Robotics is currently developing ”our most advanced robot to date – a fully commercialized robot that we’ll begin to sell to qualified enterprises later this year,” Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Hurst detailed in a blog post. “This robot will perform tasks that have traditionally been difficult to automate, like depalletizing warehouse boxes and unloading tractor-trailers.”

To support its commercialization efforts, Agility Robotics will use the new funding to add more production capacity and accelerate engineering initiatives. The startup expects to double its headcount by 2024.

Agility Robotics is the latest in a series of robotics startups to have raised funding in recent months. Earlier this year, France-based Exotec SAS raised $335 million to broaden adoption of its warehouse automation platform, which comprises robots, software, merchandise storage equipment and other components. Previously, Rapid Robotics Inc. closed a $36.7 million investment to develop robotic arms for the industrial sector. 

Photo: Agility Robotics

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