AutoStore’s R5 warehouse robot model.
Japanese investment firm SoftBank Group has announced that it will spend $ 2.8 billion to acquire a 40% stake in robotics firm AutoStore System, which specializes in warehouse robotics. The company is developing a range of robots, including the “R5”, a model of its Red Line series, for moving bins full of goods in a warehouse.
Its software offerings, such as “The Router” from AutoStore, optimize the movement of robotic systems in a warehouse.
SoftBank says AutoStore can “redefine the space,” for “a range of markets as diverse as e-commerce, grocery, industry and healthcare in any warehouse, retail site or other installation ”.
“Store four times in the same space”
AutoStore System is a subsidiary of Autostore AS, a Norwegian company founded in 1996. SoftBank acquires the stake of existing shareholders, private equity funds Thomas H. Lee Partners, LP and EQT Private Equity.
As SoftBank notes in its press release, “AutoStore’s innovative cubic design allows customers to store four times in the same space, or all of their existing inventory in 25% of the space.” AutoStore has 600 installations worldwide, notes SoftBank, and 20,000 robots operating in 35 countries.
SoftBank President Masayoshi Son said, “We view AutoStore as a foundational technology that enables fast and profitable logistics for businesses around the world. We look forward to working with AutoStore to aggressively expand into end markets and geographies. “