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NFI to deploy ‘robot lumpers’ in U.S. warehouses


New Jersey-headquartered trucking company NFI recently announced a partnership with Boston Dynamics to deploy autonomous robots at warehouse locations to help with unloading trucks.

NFI announced a $10 million agreement with leading robot maker Boston Dynamics to deploy a mobile robot called “Stretch” across the company’s U.S. warehousing operations.

The pilot program will begin at NFI’s Savannah, Georgia, facility in 2023, with additional locations added over the next few years.

NFI says that Stretch is equipped with a powerful vacuum gripper and advanced vision system, allowing it to handle boxes in a variety of shapes up to 50 pounds. The company says that Stretch requires no SKU number pre-programming or box size information, and can autonomously recover any packages that shift or fall during the unloading process.

“We designed Stretch to automate box moving, an operationally and physically challenging task across warehouses,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “Demand for goods continues to rise, and robots like Stretch can help NFI alleviate some of the challenges associated with that surging demand. Stretch makes truck unloading a safer and more efficient task, and NFI can pass that efficiency along to its customers.”

“At a time when companies need to evolve to meet consumer expectations, NFI has stepped in as the innovative logistics partner, contributing to our customers’ competitive edge,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “Our innovation portfolio emphasizes productivity and safety in NFI’s operations. With Stretch, we will enhance the movement of freight through our facilities while providing a safer environment for our employees.”


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