Ocado Group has announced it has reached an agreement with Shopify to acquire 6 River Systems, a specialist in Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) fufilment solutions for the logistics and non-grocery retail sectors.

The firm, which was founded in 2015 by two ex-Amazon excutives has developed an Autonomous Mobile Robot product called ‘Chuck’ that provides automated assistance to pickers in a warehouse, working collaboratively with human operators. Through its machine learning technology Chuck essentially helps workers complete tasks quicker by leading them around a facility to the items that they need to pull off of shelves to fulfill a given order. As well as this helps workers quickly restock items that have been returned.

The acquisition comes at a time when labour shortages continue to be a pressing issue for warehouses seeking to meet the demand for last-mile delivery. In the UK alone, 86% of organisations are experiencing staff shortages in warehousing, according to The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

James Matthews, CEO of Ocado Technology, said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome new colleagues to the Ocado family. 6 River Systems brings exciting new IP and possibilities to the wider Ocado technology estate, as well as valuable commercial and R&D expertise in non-grocery retail segments.”

He added, “Chuck robots are currently deployed in over 100 warehouses worldwide, with more than 70 customers. We’re looking forward to supporting 6 River Systems to build on these and new relationships in the years to come.”