Otto Group deploying Boston Dynamics’ robots in 20+ facilities

For the first time, Boston Dynamics’ Spot and Stretch robots will be deployed together at an enterprise scale. | Source: Otto Group

Otto Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce retailers, has signed an agreement with Boston Dynamics to help strengthen its logistics operations. Otto Group will deploy Spot robots in more than 10 facilities and Stretch robots in more than 20 over the next two years.

The deployments will start with Hermes Fulfilment, and it will be the first time both of Boston Dynamics’ commercially available robots will be deployed together at an enterprise scale. 

The Spot quadruped robot will support tunnel inspections and predictive maintenance activities for operations equipment. This will include thermal monitoring, analog gauge reading, and acoustic detection of pressurized air and gas leaks.

The fleet of Spot robots will also run autonomous missions where they will collect data for machine learning models to support tasks like fire exit egress monitoring and detecting slight changes in storage racks to keep Otto Group’s warehouses safe.

Otto Group is also deploying Boston Dynamics’ box-moving robot Stretch. In the next year, Stretch will begin unloading containers at 10 facilities, with the goal of having all 20 sites operational by the end of 2025.

Stretch is particularly useful for unloading heavy packages in the container sector. The robot will provide technological support for physically demanding tasks.

“As one of Europe’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies, the Otto Group is an excellent fit for our technology,” Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics, said. “This agreement represents a strategic collaboration that will benefit both our companies for years to come, and we look forward to seeing the value our mobile robots can provide when combined with Otto Group’s deep expertise in logistics and fulfillment.”

The deployment supports Otto Group’s efforts to improve safety, increase operational efficiency, and address labor shortages for specific types of warehouse work. The company offers a comprehensive training program to equip staff with the skills needed to work with robotics and AI.

So far, more than 10,000 warehouse and facility workers have participated in the company’s TechUcation virtual training courses. This training is supplemented with on-site training, which enables existing job profiles to develop digitally.

“The cooperation with Boston Dynamics is another important step for us to position ourselves for the future,” Kay Schiebur, member of the executive board, services, Otto Group, said. “We strive for the best service for our customers and an innovative work environment for our employees. Robotics and AI are and will become even more central components of our daily work.”

The Otto Group and Boston Dynamics also plan to collaborate on research and development, including finding additional future use cases for both Spot and Stretch over the next several years.

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