Ocado opens new London delivery hub – and starts project for warehouse robot of the future
Online grocer Ocado has opened a new 68,690 square foot delivery hub in Park Royal in northwest London, creating 205 new jobs – and has also revealed that it is working on a project to develop an “autonomous humanoid robot” that will help keep the warehouses of the future running smoothly. Based in Origin Business Park, the new London facility has been designed to be Ocado’s most environmentally innovative property to date and will be the home base for 100 new Mercedes delivery vans.
Julie Markey, director of HR at Ocado said, “As we continue to expand our business in Greater London, we’re excited to announce the opening of our newest delivery hub in Park Royal. Based in a rapidly developing area, it will be one of our biggest hubs yet, allowing us to create over 200 new jobs. ”
Meanwhile, Ocado has been the toast of the tech media this week, with reports that it is leading the work on a project to build an “autonomous humanoid robot” that will help staff its distribution centres in the future.
The SecondHands project aims to create a robot that will incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced vision systems. The plan is for the robot to be tested in “rigorous real-world trials” at a purpose-built facility in Hatfield.
“The ultimate aim is for humans to end up relying on collaborative robots because they have become an active participant in their daily tasks,” according to Dr Graham Deacon, who leads the robotics research team. “In essence the SecondHands robot will know what to do, when to do it and how to do it in a manner that a human can depend on.”
An Ocado spokesperson added: “The robot will basically help keep the warehouse running so they can keep delivering products to customers.”
Ocado Technology, is working with experts from University College London, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, La Sapienza University of Rome and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The project will take abou five years to complete.