Massachusetts start-up receives $26 million in support for trailer unloading robots

Massachusetts warehouse tech startup Pickle Robot Co. plans to accelerate the commercialization of its automated truck unloading system with a $26 million venture capital round announced today.

The four-year-old company makes robots that unload packages from truck trailers and ocean freight containers, a job it describes as one of the most labour-intensive, physically demanding and high-revenue jobs in logistics operations. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 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, having previously backed Toyota AI Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, Hyperplane Ventures, BoxGroup and Version One Ventures.

“Unloading cargo from trucks and containers is a difficult, sometimes dangerous and always arduous task that is performed in thousands of locations every day,” said Omar Asali, chairman and CEO of investor Ranpak, in a press release. “Operators around the world are struggling to fill positions for this type of work and Pickle is delivering a true robotic unloading system that can help fill the workforce gap plaguing the logistics industry.”

Pickle’s technology joins a similar system in the market from Boston Dynamics, whose “Stretch” robot model also uses a mobile robotic arm equipped with vision and gripping sensors to pick up trailer-wrapped boxes and place them onto a waiting conveyor .

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