Calgary’s Attabotics gets $50-million from Teachers, Honeywell to expand its ant-inspired warehouse technology

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Rather than running around endless aisles, Attabotics’s robots scour a single vertical structure to store and move goods to workers who handle packing and shipping

Going vertical can lower rent costs and can allow for more centrally located warehouses – a crucial factor in urban centres that reduces both the financial and environmental cost of delivery.“The system allows for smaller but more numerous sites, and packages can be located much closer to customers from the outset,” said Olivia Steedman, who leads the pension plan’s tech-investment wing, Teachers’ Innovation Platform. “Warehouse operations are ripe for disruption.

Scott Gravelle and several partners launched Attabotics in 2015, naming it after Atta, one of the groups of species of leafcutter which a scientist poured molten aluminum into an ant habitat, Mr. Gravelle realized that ants’ networks of tunnels and chambers took advantage of vertical pathways and storage.

When seeking ways to make the systems more efficient, he said, “I thought nature probably had this figured out.”


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