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EP 214: Kindred.ai

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Kevin Lawton

On this episode, I was joined by the CEO of Kindred.ai, Marin Tchakarov. Kindred.ai is bringing together advanced robotics and artificial intelligence to bring smart sortation to life in the fulfillment world. We discuss the origins of Kindred.ai, its Sort product, and its recent acquisition by Ocado.

Key Takeaways

  • I remember seeing Kindred.ai’s Sort solution way back at ProMat in 2019 and being really intrigued by the way it looked. It seemed like nothing else I had seen and it is an incredibly interesting solution to solve a very complex problem. The spherical put wall, as I would describe it, utilizes artificial intelligence and a grasping robotic arm to sort through deformables like poly bags to put them into their proper cubbies. This reduces the sort time needed by humans and helps them to concentrate on fulfilling the right orders after the intelligent sort. Marin stresses that these are collaborative solutions helping to elevate the human’s tasks and he also shares how they have created a competitive environment amongst workers to increase the fun.
  • The Sort system itself is very complex and really remarkable in what it can do. It is taking something that is very difficult for a robot to do which is grasp a soft item and really doing it with ease. Where this really comes into play is with deformable items like poly bags that you would typically find clothing items in, hence their big partnership with Gap. I asked Marin why the team decided to take on such a challenging problem to solve and he explains how it was pure ambition and really the curiosity to solve something that had not been solved before. This is the way that the world innovates and it is really incredible to see how taking on a complex problem that might scare others away can turn into a great solution.
  • Kindred.ai was recently acquired by Ocado Group which has its roots in grocery fulfillment but as Marin explains they have grown into focusing on changing the way people shop. This includes bringing in new technologies and automation solutions to the fulfillment world. The acquisition will allow Kindred.ai to expand further and keep pushing more innovation into their Sort solution and other future solutions.

The New Warehouse Podcast

EP 214: Kindred.ai