DHL is investing $ 15 million in a small fleet of advanced robots from Boston Dynamics. The units are called Stretch and are mobile robots that can zip around the warehouse and move boxes between different places.
Stretch can be described as a long robot arm placed on a mobile chassis. The arm is equipped with suction plugs that can lift boxes weighing up to 22 kilos.
The robot uses cameras to navigate normal storage environments. DHL thus doesn't need to spend money modifying warehouses to accommodate Stretch operating there.
To begin with, Stretch will mostly work with unloading boxes from trucks that arrive at the warehouse. If all goes well, Stretch will get more tasks in the warehouse as things progress.
"The stretch robot can help us solve complex challenges in our industry through flexible automation that we can replicate and scale up internationally", says Sally Miller, CIO at DHL Supply Chain North America, in a press release.
Listen to more about why DHL buys Stretch in this podcast.