Magna Pens Deal With Delivery Robot Maker Cartken to Make Thousands of Robots

The deal puts together two Bay area technology companies looking to disrupt the delivery space.


Cartken was created by a group of former Google employees.
Backed by Magna's manufacturing infrastructure, Cartken said it is gearing up to deploy more of its robots on streets around the world.

Global mobility technology company, Magna, and San Francisco-based autonomous robotics company, Cartken, announced last week an agreement for Magna to manufacture Cartken’s autonomous delivery robot fleet to meet growing demand for last mile delivery.

Manufacturing of Oakland, Calif.-based Cartken’s Model C has begun in a Magna facility in Michigan. Production capacity is expected to ramp up over the next few months and as the collaboration expands, the two companies plan to include additional autonomous delivery models based on the same platform for different use-applications and robot-as-a-service business models.

Thousands of delivery robots are expected to be produced

Based on Cartken’s forecast, thousands of autonomous delivery robots are expected to be produced during the term of the agreement. The company said its robot platform is designed to transport goods over short distances in malls, business parks, and local neighborhoods.

“We seek strategic partners that can accelerate the trajectory of Cartken's growth. This partnership is a significant step toward scaling our business and getting more Model C's into the world,” said Christian Bersch, co-founder and CEO of Cartken. “We’re honored that Magna, as a global leader with deep systems knowledge and manufacturing excellence, recognized the potential of our robots and the quality of our technology. We're inspired by Magna’s push into new spaces and are excited to move forward together in our effort to scale distribution.”

Magna is mobility technology company with a global team of 161,000 employees and an organizational structure designed to innovate like a startup. Its global network includes 341 manufacturing operations and 89 product development, engineering and sales centers spanning 28 countries.

“We continue to identify opportunities in the new mobility ecosystem where we use our capabilities to unlock new growth areas and new business models. This collaboration with Cartken is great example of that approach,” said Matteo Del Sorbo, executive vice president at Magna International and Global Lead for Magna New Mobility.

“Our ability to design, engineer and manufacture complete vehicles makes Magna an ideal partner for companies looking to solve last mile delivery challenges with sustainable, autonomous and cost-effective solutions,” Del Sorbo said.

More on Cartken’s delivery robots

Cartken said its fully autonomous delivery robots can operate outdoors and indoors and are equipped with a remote monitoring and teleoperation system that allows for instantaneous human override if necessary, helping to ensure service levels are high.

The Cartken autonomous delivery robots are fitted with multiple cameras and respond to situations in real-time using a combination of machine learning and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)-based navigation algorithms. The company was formed in 2019 by a group of former Google employees who worked on Bookboot, which TechCrunch describes as a “robot created within the company's Area 120 incubator for experimental products.” 

Cartken's autonomous delivery robot fleet is in commercial operation and has been deployed for various autonomous delivery use cases in malls, hotels, universities, retail, back-of-house, and warehouses around the globe.

A Miami Hearld story on Cartken.

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Cartken was created by a group of former Google employees.

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