The Massachusetts warehouse tech startup Pickle Robot Co. plans to accelerate the commercialization of its automatic truck unloading system thanks to a $26 million venture capital round unveiled today.
The four-year-old firm makes robots that unload packages from truck trailers and ocean freight containers, a job that it calls one of the most labor-intensive, physically demanding, and highest turnover work areas in logistics operations. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Pickle Robot says it has installed several live pilot implementations at customer sites in the greater Los Angeles area.
The “series A” round was led by Ranpak, JS Capital, Schusterman Family Investments, Catapult Ventures, and Soros Capital. The funding brings Pickle to a total of nearly $32 million raised to date, following previous backing from Toyota AI Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, Hyperplane Ventures, BoxGroup, and Version One Ventures.
"Unloading freight from trucks and containers is a difficult, sometimes dangerous, and always tedious task that is performed in thousands of locations every day," Omar Asali, the chairman and CEO of investor Ranpak, said in a release. “Operators around the globe are having difficulty filling positions to do this type of work, and Pickle is delivering a real robotic unload system that can help fill the labor gap plaguing the logistics industry."
Pickle’s technology joins a comparable system in the market from Boston Dynamics, whose “Stretch” model robot likewise uses a mobile robotic arm equipped with vision and grasping sensors to pick up boxes packed in trailers and place them on a waiting conveyor.