Ocado, the British online supermarket and technology group, has announced the takeover of two robotics firms, to 'enhance its robotic manipulation capabilities'.
The group said it was buying Kindred Systems Inc for $262 million and Haddington Dynamics Inc for $25 million.
"We consider the opportunities for robotic manipulation solutions to be significant, both for Ocado Smart Platform clients and across the fast-growing online retail and logistics sectors," commented Tim Steiner, Ocado chief executive.
"Ocado has made meaningful progress in developing the machine learning, computer vision and engineering systems required for the robotic picking solutions that are currently in production at our Customer Fulfilment Centre in Erith. Given the market opportunity we want to accelerate the development of our systems, including improving their speed, accuracy, product range and economics."
Elsewhere, Ocado also upgraded the full-year core earnings outlook for Ocado Retail Ltd, its joint venture with Marks & Spencer, due to strong fourth quarter trading so far.
It expects full year earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for Ocado Retail to be over £60 million, versus previous guidance of over £40 million.
'Ocado continues to see high demand as consumers migrate to online grocery in record numbers,' the group said.
'Sales are in line with the trends reported in the third quarter although growth rates reflect the seasonality of the quarter.'