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Robots Gathering to Help Beat Britain's Supply-Chain Shortages


Robots in the Hive, a giant fulfilment center in Erith, south-east London, operated by online grocer Ocado.

Robots "man" the fulfillment center of online grocer Ocado in southeast London.

Credit: Reuters

Robotic logistics is helping to mitigate labor shortages and other supply-chain disruptions in the U.K.

Research group Interact Analysis says the U.K.'s distribution and fulfillment centers are the world's most automated; Amazon's U.K. warehouses, for example, deploy squat robots to slide under shelves and ferry items to people for sorting and packing.

Online grocer Ocado operates a robot fleet at its "Hive" fulfillment center in Erith in southeast London, and is building 50 more Hive-like systems worldwide.

A robotic system from Estonia’s Starship Technologies already is providing grocery deliveries from Co-op stores in the towns of Northampton and Milton Keynes using autonomous delivery pods that travel footpaths and cycleways; the pods are equipped with sensors to avoid people and other vehicles.

From The Economist
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