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Otto Group co-operates with Boston Dynamics

Strategic partnership plans to deploy a fleet of Boston Dynamics robots in more than 20 logistics centres over the next two years to strengthen itself for the future.

Hamburg, Germany / Waltham, USA - 11 September 2023 - The Otto Group has agreed a strategic partnership with Boston Dynamics, the global leader in mobile robotics, to further automate its logistics operations. Over the next two years, a fleet of Boston Dynamics Spot® robots will be deployed in more than 10 and Stretch™ robots in more than 20 Otto Group logistics centres, starting with Hermes Fulfilment. The aim of the collaboration is to increase operational efficiency and occupational safety and to make warehouse work more attractive in view of the shortage of skilled labour. The agreement marks the first joint deployment of the two commercially available Boston Dynamics robots on this scale.

Under the agreement, Spot, Boston Dynamics' four-legged mobile robot, will assist with tunnel inspections and preventative maintenance activities for operational assets, including thermal monitoring, analogue gauge reading and acoustic detection of air and gas leaks. The Spot fleet will also perform autonomous missions and collect machine learning data to make the Otto Group's logistics centres even safer by monitoring emergency exits and detecting slight changes in warehouse racking.

In addition, the Otto Group will also deploy Stretch, the Boston Dynamics box handling robot developed for warehouse applications. Stretch will start unloading containers in 10 sorting centres next year, with the aim of having all locations up and running by the end of 2025. Stretch, which is particularly suitable for unloading heavy parcels in the container sector, will provide technological support for physically demanding activities in warehouse logistics.

"The cooperation with Boston Dynamics is another important step for us to strengthen ourselves for the future," says Kay Schiebur, Otto Group Executive Board Member for Services, and adds: "We strive to provide the best service for our customers and an innovative working environment for our employees. Robotics and artificial intelligence are already central components of our daily work and are becoming increasingly important."

The Otto Group offers a comprehensive training programme to qualify its employees for working with robotics and AI. More than 10,000 industrial employees have completed the company's virtual TechUcation training courses to date. This is supplemented by on-site training. This allows existing job profiles to develop digitally and shape the future together.

"We have learnt to adapt quickly and flexibly to new market situations time and again, which makes us fit for the future," emphasises Schiebur. The Otto Group and Boston Dynamics also want to work together in research and development over the next few years in order to develop further use cases for spot and stretch robots.

"As one of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in Europe, the Otto Group is the perfect partner for our technology," said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. "Our agreement is more of a strategic collaboration that will benefit both companies in the years to come. We look forward to the added value that our mobile robots will provide in combination with the Otto Group's extensive expertise in logistics and fulfilment."

The Otto Group's press release can be found HERE.

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