Fresh off the news that it had closed a $52 million funding round last month, self-driving vehicle provider Seegrid is keeping its foot on the gas in its drive to position its vision guided vehicles (VGVs) in the material handling sector, announcing today that it has acquired Box Robotics, a mobile robotics startup specializing in high-definition maps, three-dimensional LiDAR, and deep learning.

Pittsburgh-based Seegrid said the move would help accelerate next-generation perception and more human-like, situational awareness for its vehicles in manufacturing, distribution, and e-commerce fulfillment facilities that have seen rising demand for automation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said that Box Robotics co-founders Tom Panzarella and John Spletzer will now lead Seegrid’s perception engineering team. Philadelphia-based Box Robotics says it focuses on three dimensional (3D) perception autonomy with human-like situational awareness for industrial robots.

Seegrid’s robots use navigation technology that combines cameras, algorithms, and machine learning to navigate in dynamic environments across the both the automated guided vehicle (AGV) and autonomous mobile robot (AMR) sectors, the company says.

By adding Box Robotics’ technology to that platform, Seegrid says its VGVs will gain an enhanced ability to “comprehend” situations, improved their ability to solve problems in customers’ real-world, live production environments, Seegrid CEO Jim Rock said in a blog post.

“[That] supports our development goals to increase our vision guided vehicles’ ability to interpret the world around them without human intervention. With a strong human-sense of space and understanding, Seegrid self-driving vehicles can do even more productive, meaningful work for our customers,” Rock said.

Seegrid makes the deal in a time when the pandemic has accelerated demand for its automation solutions, particularly across the material handling industry, to help meet the additional pressures put on supply chains and the increased health and safety concerns of employees, Rock said in the post.


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