HDS Global, or Home Delivery Service, yesterday claimed that it is “the first e-commerce company in the world to debut a fully automated robotic fulfillment center” at its new Technology Center in Indianapolis. The company said it built the HDS Global Technology Center from the ground up to demonstrate its solutions to “problems inherent in existing e-commerce systems.”
“There is no other fulfillment system in existence that can provide the kind of service we imagined,” said Louis Borders, founder of Borders Books and Webvan, as well as Home Delivery Service. “In fact, no one has even come close, which is why we knew that for HDS Global to reach its potential, we had to build it ourselves.”
“Although this called for a more strategic approach and an adjustment in our timelines, the result has far exceeded expectations,” he said. “RoboFS is a fundamentally different, comprehensive solution that will enable us to fully meet strong market demand upon commercial release.”
HDS Global said RoboFS uses the latest in artificial intelligence and robotics to efficiently and cost-effectively automate touchless order fulfillment, starting with groceries. The patented system allows free same-day delivery of “fresher-than-store” goods directly to the customer’s door, as well as premium one-hour service, said the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.
HDS added that it has developed a novel user experience, personalized around the dietary needs and desires of each customer.
HDS Global raises $5M, bolsters expert leadership
HDS Global also announced $5 million in strategic investments from prominent individuals, with expertise spanning technology, retail, and academia. It had previously secured funding from global brands including Ingram Micro and Toyota.
The company has added a number of experts in commerce and robotics to its team as it prepares to go to market. HDS Global’s company directors include Craig A. Leavitt, former CEO of Kate Spade, and Sujeet Chand, chief technology officer (CTO) of Rockwell Automation.
HDS Global said its advisors include Bob DiRomualdo, chairperson and CEO of Naples Ventures and former chairman of the board of directors at Ulta Beauty, plus Rudy Salas, former senior vice president of bottler strategy at Coca-Cola.
HDS Global announced the appointment of several veterans to its operating team. Chris Visnic, the former vice president of sales at Seegrid Corp. and the global simulation lead at Autodesk Inc., has joined HDS Global as the president of RoboFS.
Visnic successfully led teams that sold, implemented, and supported material handling automation to the world’s largest companies in manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and fulfillment, said HDS.
The company has also named Joe Mirabile, a former executive at Seegrid and FedEx, vice president of technology operations. He has developed application, engineering, and implementation teams that delivered autonomous mobile robot (AMR) technology to more than 400 facilities globally, including those of Amazon, Walmart, General Motors, the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service, Whirlpool, Jaguar Land Rover, and Caterpillar.
Consumer goods are organized into sanitized totes to support a multiple gripper pick module that HDS Global said can achieve a 95% success rate. Source: Business Wire
RoboFS taps talent for full automation
To build the first fully automated fulfillment system and address fragmented e-commerce, HDS Global said it worked with “several innovative Global Fortune 500 heavyweights and industry veterans with bankable track records in robotics and e-commerce.”
“Through the team’s collective insights, HDS Global has already refined the development of RoboFS into a production-ready fulfillment system, which could not come at a better time, as the U.S. experiences deep supply chain issues and rising costs for consumer goods,” the company said.
Mitchell Weiss, former CTO of Seegrid and Brooks Automation, has joined HDS Global as chief robotics officer. He led the development and manufacture of collaborative robots for market leaders in industrial automation. Weiss was also the original builder and designer of Seegrid’s flagship product, which was recently named the No. 1 AMR by Interact Analysis.
HDS Global said its high-throughput technology is built for rapid rollout and has a 50% lower cost of operation than today's systems. After the debut of RoboFS last month, potential customers, partners, and institutional investors can visit the new center to see how the system will be implemented at scale, said the company.
“HDS Global is pushing robotics and automation into new territory, which is tremendously exciting,” said Weiss. “To see RoboFS in a production environment allows decision makers to envision what ecommerce could be, which is a magical experience for consumers at a lower price point than ever before. The Technology Center moves our idea beyond concept to show that this is for real.”
“We have a bold vision for the future, and to execute, it is critical to have the right people in place throughout the organization,” said Borders. “Because we have been able to attract and hire the best, and because we have brought in the right investors and partners at the right time, we are in a unique position to cross the chasm for e-commerce grocery and become a recognized full-service e-commerce market leader. As with Borders and Webvan, HDS will have a significant, beneficial impact on quality of life for its customers.”
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