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Amazon builds stake in Balyo

Wednesday, 16 Jan 2019 ( #906 ) - Ivry-sur-Seine, France, France
News Story
Deal will see more Balyo technology deployed at Amazon
Amazon could build a stake of almost a third in warehouse robotics firm Balyo in the next seven years, as part of a deal that could boost sales of the French company's technology for self-driving forklift trucks.

According to a report from Reuters, warehouse automation is a key element in Amazon’s drive to cut costs and speed up deliveries.

The world's biggest online retailer currently uses robots developed by Kiva Systems, a company it bought for $775 million in 2012.

"This agreement ... represents an unprecedented opportunity for Balyo to grow its business and supports the soundness of our investments over the years to perfect our robotic solutions," says Balyo chief executive Fabien Bardinet.

Under the deal, Amazon will receive free stock warrants representing up to 29% of Balyo's capital which it can exercise depending on orders of the company's products.

The full 29% would be exercised if Amazon orders up to EUR300 million (USD346 million) of Balyo's enabled products.

Balyo technology enables fleets of robotic trucks to self-locate in real time and navigate inside a building with no added infrastructure, unlike automatic trucks or AGVs.

The technology is already implemented in Linde, Hyster and Yale AGVs and "can perform all types of tasks in total autonomy, from the simplest to the most complex", the company claims.

Unlike other systems which are guided by wires or other infrastructure, Balyo’s Geoguidance system relies on the recognition of the internal fixtures of a building such as walls, columns and racks, to enable the trucks to self-locate in real time.

Balyo, whose navigation system turns forklifts into self-driving vehicles, said it expected 2018 revenue to come in at EUR23.3 million (USD26.6 million), up 40% on the previous year.
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