Amazon.com is spending $775 million in cash on robots. These aren’t the cute humanoid ones, though. Amazon is acquiring Kiva Systems Inc., a material handling technology company best known for its automated warehouse fulfillment systems.
Outside of its practical deployments, online video fans will recognize Kiva Systems from its viral video of a few years ago, however, which showed dozens of the powerful little orange units dancing to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite (see below).
Kiva’s stockholders have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012. Kiva Systems’ headquarters will remain in North Reading, Massachusetts.
“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment, Amazon.com. “Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”
“For the past ten years, the Kiva team has been focused on creating innovative material handling technologies,” said Mick Mountz, CEO and founder of Kiva Systems. “I’m delighted that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can provide even more valuable solutions in the coming years.”
Amazon – press release