Amazon robotics VIP joins microlocation tech company

The opportunity in automation is in providing the tools that make robots indispensable.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

A company that makes microlocation technology to keep autonomous robots on task and in position in high traffic scenarios, such as in warehouses, has a new rockstar on its board. Amy Villeneuve, former COO of Amazon Robotics and VP of Amazon, and an alum of warehouse fulfillment company Kiva, which was acquired by Amazon in 2012, is joining the board at Massachusetts-based Humatics Corporation.

Former Kiva executives have become living legends in the industry. As COO, Amy helped build Kiva from a startup into the benchmark player in warehouse logistics, leading to a $775 million acquisition by Amazon and helping to enable the Prime delivery we all love. Much of the growth in automation in recent years is attributable to warehouse logistics automation companies trying to figure out ways to catch up with technology Kiva pioneered a decade ago.

The company Villeneuve joining, Humatics, has pioneered microlocation technology to help a variety of robotic systems position themselves faster and more affordably than other 3D tracking technology used in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), such as LiDAR or, in the case of warehouse robots, magnetic tape. It's a good example of an automation technology provider capitalizing on the rush in industries like logistics and materials handling by providing the bedrock tech to make it easier for hardware providers to sell scalable automation solutions.

"Amy is an accomplished leader in robotics, with exceptional experience scaling successful businesses in the e-commerce and logistics sectors," says David Mindell, CEO and Founder, Humatics. "We are thrilled to have her join our board; her background and insight will be invaluable as we continue to scale to meet the growing demand of Humatics' revolutionary microlocation technology in global e-commerce, transportation, and logistics settings."

With a $28 million round earlier this year, Humatics has a total funding of more than $50 million is considered a company to watch in the industry. This year the company announced a partnership with robotics company Vecna to provide microlocation capabilities to Vecna's fleet of AMRs.

"I am incredibly impressed by Humatics' team and technology," says Villeneuve. "They have introduced an entirely new category of navigational technology – called microlocation – that is on-track to transform a variety of industries, from warehousing and smart cities to robotics. I look forward to working with them to bring their revolutionary navigation solution to market."

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