Amazon launches a $ 1 billion fund to invest in warehouse technology

The robots transport goods to employees in the warehouse of a fulfillment center of the mail order company Amazon.

Rolf Vennenbernd | dpa | Alliance Image | Getty Images

Amazon is launching a $ 1 billion fund that will support companies “at all stages” building supply chain, fulfillment and logistics technologies, the company announced Thursday.

The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund focuses on investing in companies that are developing technology that will “increase delivery speed and further enhance the experience” of warehouse and logistics employees, Alex Ceballos Encarnacion wrote in a blog post. , Amazon’s vice president of global business development. .

The fund is a subset of Amazon’s growing investment business. The company in 2020 launched a $ 2 billion fund to invest in climate technologies and operate the Alexa Fundwhich has invested, among other things, in voice recognition technology.

Early startups backed by the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund include Modjoul, a company that develops wearable safety technologies that issue warnings and recommendations aimed at reducing injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders, or strains and sprains.

MSDs are some of Amazon most common warehouse injuriesand Amazon founder Jeff Bezos he said earlier the company needs to develop solutions to reduce their prevalence among new employees. Amazon is committed to becoming “The safest workplace on earth” as a result of increasing pressure from lawmakers, advocacy groups and its employees on how it treats its warehouse workers.

Three other companies included in the first round of investments are developing robotics “designed to complement and coexist with people’s lives,” Amazon said.

Amazon in 2012 acquired a company called Kiva Systems that created wheeled robots for warehouses. Since then, Amazon has launched a series of robotic fulfillment centers with the aim of accelerating the delivery of products to consumers. Last year, it shared details of four warehouse robots are testing to reduce tiring movements for workers.

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