Seegrid acquires Box Robotics to advance mobile robot perception

Seegrid Corp. today announced that it has acquired lidar provider Box Robotics Inc., which it said will help it develop situational awareness technology for its vision-guided vehicles. The companies did not disclose the terms of the acquisition.

Pittsburgh-based Seegrid said its vision-guided vehicles (VGVs), fleet management software, analytics, and support are designed to provide robust, flexible, and reliable automation. The company’s proprietary Seegrid Navigation navigation technology uses cameras, algorithms, and machine learning to navigate in dynamic environments. Seegrid said it leads in automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to help manufacturingwarehousing, e-commerce, and logistics facilities achieve Industry 4.0 and material handling automation initiatives.

Philadelphia-based Box Robotics said it brings high-definition maps, three-dimensional lidar, and deep learning to warehouse and manufacturing automation. Seegrid said its purchase of the startup will help accelerate next-generation perception and meet increasing demand for automation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Box Robotics to bring more functionality to VGVs

Box Robotics, led by former Love Park Robotics principals Tom Panzarella and John Spletzer, said it focuses on 3D perception autonomy with human-like situational awareness for industrial robots. Seegrid noted that it will help it deploy more advanced functionality for its mobile robots.

“Seegrid and Box Robotics are perfectly aligned in our mission to bring full 3D situational awareness and predictability to our next-generation robots,” stated Jim Rock, CEO of Seegrid. “Tom and John are visionary leaders and experienced computer vision and robotics developers who uniquely and deeply understand the issues facing material handling automation.”

“Situational awareness matters to our customers,” he said. “In 2019, we introduced a 3D perception stack to enhance Seegrid VGVs’ situational awareness. The more enhanced understanding the robots have of their environment, the better the ability to make decisions across a greater number of situations. Enhancing the ability of Seegrid’s VGVs to comprehend situations strengthens our ability to solve problems in our customers’ real-world, live production environments.”

”This strategic acquisition gives both Seegrid and our customers a competitive advantage by continuing to provide increased productivity and uncompromised safety, as well as accelerates the advancement of technologies needed to support today’s incredible demand for automation,” Rock added. The company said its robots have logged more than 3 million miles of production use without a single safety incident.

Seegrid continues growth

“Both Tom and John will be joining the Seegrid team,” Rock said. “They will lead our perception engineering team and focus on adding best-in-class 3D situational awareness to Seegrid’s already industry-leading 3D vision-based navigation. This effort will ultimately increase efficiency and productivity while furthering Seegrid’s leading safety record that has reached 4 million miles at customer sites without a single personnel safety incident.”

“We are beyond excited to be a part of the Seegrid family and bring our technology to some of the world’s largest manufacturing and distribution brands already leveraging enormous returns with Seegrid’s vehicles,” said Panzarella, co-founder of Box Robotics. “This technology will enable Seegrid’s autonomous vehicles to gain an even more comprehensive understanding of the world, enabling them to be more productive and save customers time and money.”

Seegrid’s acquisition of Box Robotics comes on the heels of the company closing a $52 million growth equity financing round last month. Seegrid said it intends to use the additional capital to accelerate new product development and increase its workforce.

“The pandemic has accelerated the demand for automation solutions, particularly across the material handling industry, to help meet the additional pressures put on supply chains and the increased health and safety concerns of employees,” Rock said. “Not only do we expect to double our revenue this year, but we also recently closed a $52 million growth equity financing round, bringing our total funding to more than $150 million. We have also expanded our team and plan to hire more than 100 employees this year to support our growing customer base.”

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