AI robots to power Otto Group's logistics network

Group enters strategic partnership with Covariant in United States
19 May 2023
Peter Chen, CEO Covariant & Kay Schiebur, Vorstand Services der Otto Group

The Hamburg-based Otto Group is entering into a strategic partnership with the U.S. Covariant company to use 100 AI-controlled robots at its logistics centres in Haldensleben and Altenkunstadt, a press release said Tuesday (May 9, 2023). The robots will carry out tasks previously done manually to increase efficiency in view of high, fluctuating workloads. The Covariant robots will learn the required skills through a shared network and automatically adapt to their environment, the manufacturer said. 

Countering  shortage of skilled workers with artificial intelligence

"Logistics faces the challenge of being as cost-efficient as possible. The use of a generalist AI allows us to rethink our processes in future and counteract the massive shortage of workers" said Kay Schiebur, Member of the Otto Group's Executive Board Services. The investment should create new work profiles and more attractive jobs in an era of outsourcing to cheaper production sites. "We are especially happy to remain close to our customers and to strengthen the European and especially the German business location. The use of AI will be a key success factor in logistics in future," Schiebur added. "This is a crucial step in automating the European e-commerce market -and represents one of the largest investments to date in a basic robotics model," said Peter Chen, CEO of Covariant.

Improved performance and secure future with AI robots

The use of AI robots is expected to improve the Otto Group's overall performance and ensure reliable delivery times, as the robots can handle unpredictable scenarios and changing products independently. The state-of-the-art technology will enable the Otto Group to drive digitalization and an AI-powered growth in future. Covariant's deep learning-based picking, placement and sorting solutions form a good basis: "Investments in future should not fall by the wayside, even in a challenging market environment. We are investing in our future viability and strengthening our position as market leader in Europe," said Schiebur.