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Ocado plans to increase the number of its customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) to 30 and, therefore, the grocery giant is investing 600 million pounds into opening a series of robotic warehouses, reports CIPS.

Ocado has published its annual report on 2019 which revealed a loss of 214.5 million pounds. This didn’t come as a surprise for the industry who hasn’t forgotten the fire of the Andover warehouse and its cost, which was approximately 111.8 million pounds. However, Ocado is planning to recover from the loss by opening new centres and investing 600 million pounds into robotic warehouses

Over the next year, Ocado is set to bring the number of high-tech customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) around the world to 30. One of them is going to be built in Bristol, as the 6th CFC in the UK. 

The facility will have the capacity for over 30,000 orders per week. The centre is being built in an existing warehouse and is expected to go live at the end of 2020 or early 2021.

“The Ocado Smart Platform is constantly evolving as we innovate to adapt to changing customer needs. We can now deliver the best customer experience across a whole range of customer missions, through CFCs, mini-CFCs, and micro fulfilment centres. Ocado’s technology is dynamic and constantly improving, delivered through tried and tested solutions with proven and attractive economics. Our mission is to deliver the future of online shopping today, and we believe we are succeeding.” – as Tim Steiner, Chief Executive of Ocado Group, commented on the announcement.

During the first half of 2020, Ocado will open some facilities for Sobeys in Toronto, Canada, and Casino in Paris, France. 

The robotic grocery with AI

Ocado Technology often hits the news under headlines of innovation in the field of AI and robotics. Over the past couple of years, the company announced its involvement in several high-profile research projects, including the SoMa soft manipulation system and the SecondHands technician cobot.

Ocado is determined to develop smart and generalised robotic solutions and systems capable of picking the 50,000 different items available on Ocado.com safely and reliably. 

While humans can quickly learn and develop all manner of strategies for grasping various items based on what they intend to do with them, robots need to be taught these strategies and that’s why AI plays such an important role too – explains the company why applying AI in its wareouses is a priority for them.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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