Amazon has warehouse operations on a massive scale so it’s always looking to extract more efficiency out of those operations as they have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line. Thus it’s not surprising to hear that the company is investing in a company that’s developing technology for self-driving forklifts. Amazon could reportedly build up a stake of almost a third in French warehouse robotics company Balyo.
Warehouse automation is not a new subject for Amazon. It already deploys robots in its warehouse to reduce costs and speed up deliveries. The robots that it currently uses are made by Kiva Systems, it acquired that company in 2012 for $775 million.
Balyo Chief Executive Fabien Bardinet said that this deal with Amazon provides the company with an “unprecedented opportunity” to grow its business. The seven year deal provides Amazon with free stock warrants that represent up to 29 percent of the company’s capital. It can choose to exercise those warrants depending on its orders for the Balyo’s products.
It can exercise the full 29 percent if it orders up to 300 million of autonomous products enabled by Balyo’s technology. The French company develops a navigation system that enables forklifts to essentially be transformed into autonomous vehicles.