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May 25, 2020

Gap is rushing more robots into its warehouses to handle coronavirus disruption

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

U.S. apparel chain Gap is speeding up its rollout of warehouse robots for assembling online orders so it can limit human contact during the coronavirus pandemic, the company told Reuters.

Gap reached a deal early this year to more than triple the number of item-picking robots it uses to 106 by the fall. Then the pandemic struck North America, forcing the company to close all its stores in the region, including those of Banana Republic, Old Navy and other brands. Meanwhile, its warehouses faced more web orders and fewer staff to fulfill them because of social distancing rules Gap had put in place.

“We could not get as many people in our distribution centers safely,” said Kevin Kuntz, Gap’s senior vice president of global logistics fulfillment. So he called up Kindred AI, the vendor that sells the machines, to ask: “Can you get them here earlier?”

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