DB Schenker invests in autonomous mobile robots

  • June 14, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

DB Schenker has invested in Croatian autonomous mobile robotics company Gideon Brothers as part of a $31m series A round.

The money will be used to accelerate development of AI and 3D vision-based technology, securing access to intelligent material handling for DB Schenker’s customers.

The investment should accelerate the development and commercialisation of Gideon’s vision-based autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The technology has already been implemented in DB Schenker’s warehouse in Leipzig, Germany.

Xavier Garijo, member of the DB Schenker board, will also become a member of Gideon’s board of directors.

“This investment in the development of autonomous mobile robots once again proves DB Schenker’s ambition to be the frontrunner in innovation,” said Garijo. “Our partnership with Gideon Brothers secures our access to best-in-class robotics and intelligent material handling to serve our customers in the most efficient way. Our collaboration to date with Gideon Brothers has demonstrated real use cases in inbound and outbound processes within the warehouse environment. We also see wider applications and are excited at what this technology affords us in creating the warehouse of the future for our customers. Together with Gideon Brothers we aim to challenge what we already have in practice at DB Schenker and revolutionise logistics business models.”

Matija Kopić, CEO of Gideon Brothers, added: “The pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of smart automation, and we are ready to meet the unprecedented market demand. The best way to do it is by marrying our proprietary solutions with the largest, most demanding customers out there. Our strategic partners have real challenges that our robots are already solving, and, with us, they’re seizing the incredible opportunity right now to effect robotic-powered change to some of the world’s most innovative organisations.”

Gideon Brothers specialises in the flexible automation of horizontal and vertical material handling processes for logistics, warehousing, manufacturing and retail businesses. With its mobile robots and software for autonomous indoor and outdoor operations, the company helps businesses solve their most complex supply chain problems, raising customer expectations, increasing product variability and logistics volumes, growing variety of distribution channels, and, ultimately, tackling labour shortages.

AMRs can make processes and workflows more efficient and productive. This is typically achieved by performing non-value-added tasks, such as transporting, picking up and dropping off products, to free up colleagues to perform other tasks that add value to the operation.

According to ABI Research, the global mobile robotics market is expected to grow to $158.6bn by 2030. There will be over 15 million autonomous mobile robots in the world by then, and some type of visual perception will power 90 per cent of them.

The series A round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the venture and growth arm of Koch Industries. Gideon Brothers will expand its board of directors with Annant Patel, director of KDT, and Xavier Garijo from DB Schenker.

With around 74,200 employees at more than 2100 locations in over 130 countries, DB Schenker operates land, air and ocean transportation services.

Gideon was founded in 2017 and has more than 90 employees. It specialises in the automation of horizontal and vertical material handling processes for logistics, manufacturing and retail businesses.