Nashua, New Hampshire-based Waypoint manufactures omnidirectional autonomous mobile robots for material transport. Its flagship products are the Vector and MAV3K, industrial-strength flexible mobile robot platforms that feature omnidirectional mobility and can be fitted with a wide variety of modules and attachments. The robots are interoperable with other robots and can communicate with machines and Internet of Things devices within facilities.
Terms were not disclosed.
“Locus is the proven leader in the development of highly productive and innovative AMR technology that efficiently solves our customers’ needs for total warehouse optimization,” Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, said in a release. “As order fulfillment and labor shortages continue to grow around the world, the acquisition of Waypoint Robotics will accelerate our ability to meet these global needs in just months rather than years, helping us drive the digital transformation of the warehouse.”
Locus makes multi-bot robotic solutions that work alongside humans (co-bots) to increase piece-handling speed between two and three times. Its customers include retailers, third-party logistics providers and specialty warehouse operators.
Faulk told Modern Shipper the acquisition helps extend the use cases and applications Locus is able to address with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
“Locus has established itself as the leading provider of AMRs in the fulfillment warehouse space, with the market momentum and unique, proprietary multi-bot paradigm that takes warehouse automation to the next level of productivity and efficiency,” he said. “The two companies’ technologies are complementary, and together, we will have an expanded product line that is well-positioned to address a broader array of customer use cases and market segments. Waypoint’s advanced, rugged robotics technologies, in combination with the Locus robots, will form the most scalable and flexible solution to drive total warehouse optimization.”
The combined company will have over 200 employees and will be managed as a single operation. Waypoint executives will join Locus.
“Waypoint shares Locus’ commitment to technology excellence in pursuit of customer success,” said Jason Walker, CEO of Waypoint Robotics. “We’re excited to contribute to the expansion of the Locus product family in order to deliver a broader range of solutions, as well as access to new market segments.”
Faulk said the expansion of use cases helps add value to both current customers and creates a more complete solution for future customers. The acquisition expands the automation offerings Locus can deliver to customers, including DHL Supply Chain, which recently signed a deal with Locus.
“Our new, expanded product line will allow us to be ideally positioned to serve multiuse cases as well as address new opportunities within prospect and our existing customer organizations,” he said. “We are also able to meet the growing needs of our customers, who will now be able to acquire multiple, integrated robotics solutions from one trusted partner.”
DHL plans to add 2,000 robots by 2022, making it Locus Robotics’ largest customer. DHL already has more than 500 assisted picking robots in use today and plans to add 500 more to over 20 locations by the end of 2021. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the LocusBots have been able to adapt quickly to new environments, allowing DHL to expand its robot fleet into various types of picking processes when needed.
“DHL Supply Chain and Locus Robotics have established a productive partnership based on a highly successful integration of the Locus autonomous mobile robot solution into our customers’ operations, and we value the emphasis they have placed on listening to our needs,” said Sally Miller, CIO of DHL Supply Chain North America. “This acquisition, which adds a larger, heavier-weight autonomous robot capability to their portfolio, is a good reflection of how they continue to address the customer requirements at the heart of their strategy. I believe it will open up promising new opportunities in our partnership, support DHL’s ongoing efforts to deploy technologies that improve our customers’ supply chains and contribute to the continued advancement of a competitive robotics market.”
Locus Robotics also works with customers in a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) subscription model, making it easy for customers to add or subtract from their robotic fleet without fear of a large capital investment.
Just last week, Locus announced existing investor Tiger Global Management had invested another $50 million into the company. That followed a $150 million Series E round in February, led by Tiger Global Management and IT investment firm Bond. The new investment increases the total funding for Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Locus Robotics to $310 million.