Robotics & Automation News

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Otto Motors raises $29 million in new funding for its autonomous mobile robots business

Otto Motors, a division of Clearpath Robotics, has raised $29 million in Series C funding. The company says the new funds will be used for the continued expansion of its autonomous mobile robot platform.

The investment, which follows years of rapid growth, was led by Kensington Private Equity Fund with participation from BMO Capital Partners, Export Development Canada, and previous investors iNovia Capital and RRE Ventures.

Including this Series C round, Otto Motors has now raised a total of $83 million in funding.

Otto Motors enables the world’s largest companies to create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous material handling.

This funding will be used to expand Otto’s global network of delivery partners and accelerate its product roadmap for enterprise customers with emphasis on its industry-leading autonomous technology.

Demand for AMRs has been growing worldwide as manufacturers have struggled to find workers to serve critical needs.

The skills gap is projected to leave 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, according to a 2018 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, and the need for automation is projected to grow as companies seek ways to improve business continuity during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew Rendall, Clearpath CEO and co-founder, says: “Mobile robots are no longer a luxury in the workplace; they are a necessity.

“In a post-Covid world, AMRs enhance worker safety and bring resiliency to supply chains. As enterprises adapt, AMR demand will accelerate globally. This investment will enable us to grow to meet the evolving needs of the factories and warehouses of the future anywhere in the world.”

Rick Nathan, senior managing director at Kensington, says: “Clearpath and its Otto autonomous mobile robots have been on our radar for some time.

“We see strong trends favouring the acceleration of industrial automation generally, with Clearpath positioned very strongly to benefit from this rapidly growing sector.

“Otto’s technology leads the market for core infrastructure for the factory of the future. It is becoming increasingly important for customers across all manufacturing and a compelling opportunity for our investors.”

Otto has helped Berry Global Group, a Fortune 500 manufacturer, meet increasing customer demand despite labor shortages at a plant in Kentucky. Berry Global’s fleet of 19 Otto AMRs operate 24-7 supplying cases to and from automated production machines.

Scott Spaeth, director of corporate automation at Berry Global, says: “Our mission to ensure a safe and productive work environment, along with the challenges of persistent labor constraints, has led us to increase investments in creative automation solutions.

“The Otto vehicles address those challenges and deliver improved operations reliability, while enhancing the working environment for our employees.”

Since launching in 2015, Otto Motors has emerged as a leader in enterprise AMR deployments. Over 70% of the AMRs installed by Otto are in Fortune Global 500 companies, including GE, Toyota, Nestle, and Berry Global.

In recent months, Otto has also seen a surge in demand from essential businesses responding to increased operational risks associated with Covid-19, including food, beverage and medical device manufacturing.

Main picture: The Otto 1500 autonomous mobile robot can carry more than 3,300 pounds.

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