Picking is one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a logistics facility. That is the procedure for retrieving objects from a shelf where they are kept for processing. Warehouse personnel utilise robotic arms to fetch things with little to no user input to speed up the process.
Historically, deploying robotic arms has been a difficult task. The reason for this is because such systems typically cannot process products in a logistics warehouse unless explicitly designed to do so. A corporation must create a bespoke algorithm for each sort of item it sells so that its robots can process it.
Covariant, a firm building warehouse robots that can be deployed more quickly than standard automation technology, has raised $75M in funding, bringing its total funding to $222M. Returning investors Radical Ventures and Index Ventures co-led the round, which also saw additional funding from returning investors Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Amplify Partners. The round also welcomed new investors Gates Frontier Holdings, AIX Ventures, and Northgate Capital.
Making robot picking seamless
The funds will be used to ensure that today’s merchants and logistics providers can introduce robotic picking swiftly and without disrupting their existing operations, ensuring that they benefit from Day One.
Covariant, once known as embodied intelligence Inc., sells robotic arms that claim to eliminate the need for manual configuration. According to the company, its systems can handle “almost any” item right out of the box. As a result, retailers and logistics organisations can implement systems more quickly than they would otherwise.
The Covariant Brain, an internally built intelligence system, powers Covariant’s robots. The system was taught using data from millions of robotic goods processing processes, according to the company. The Covariant Brain can manage clothing, groceries, and other commodities, as well as containers containing a variety of items.
“The leading companies have turned to AI Robotics to automate their most manual operations in order to decrease labor costs, increase throughput, and control profitability,” said Peter Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Covariant. “The past year for Covariant has been incredible with 6x growth in 2022 – and we are just getting started. This infusion of new capital allows us to scale even faster, ensuring more retailers can automate more parts of their fulfillment networks to remove manual bottlenecks, handle fluctuating demand, and better prepare for ever-changing business needs.”
“Covariant has proven it’s the world’s leading AI Robotics company, with AI enabling the successful deployment of robots at scale to secure global supply chains. That helps brands improve consumer trust, retailer confidence, and profitability, even in a time of economic uncertainty,” said Jordan Jacobs, Managing Partner of Radical Ventures.
Mike Volpi, Partner at Index Ventures, believes Covariant maintains a strong competitive advantage amidst an increasingly compelling market: “Many companies are trying to break into the AI Robotics space, but Covariant has been making significant progress for years now. I’m confident that their team, which represents the best minds in AI, and their approach of deploying a unified AI platform are shaping the future of automation, and look forward to the additional progress they’ll make in the years ahead.”
The company claims that more than 300 of its robots are in use in warehouses throughout the world.
Covariant, which was founded in 2017 by Peter Chen, Pieter Abbeel, Rocky Duan, Tianhao Zhang provides AI-powered automation solutions that handle the shift and scale of today’s modern warehouse. Order sorting, item induction, good-to-person order picking, kitting, and depalletization are among the AI-powered robotic picking applications offered by the company.