Robotic forktruck startup lands funding

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Fox makes a self-driving forklift capable of automatically unloading a trailer.

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin-based Fox Robotics has landed US$9 million in Series A funding to advance development of its self-driving forktrucks.

Fox makes self-driving forklifts that can unload trailers without modifying the warehouse environment. Fox’s forklifts can be installed and running in a new warehouse in less than a day.

The funding is led by Menlo Ventures, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Additional investors include Eniac Ventures, La Famiglia, SignalFire, Congruent Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures.

“We are proud to back the team at Fox Robotics,” said Mark Siegel, partner at Menlo Ventures.

“The company’s value proposition is clear: Their full-stack solution for self-driving forklifts that can increase workplace productivity 200 to 300 percent. They bring huge efficiency to the supply chain.”

Fox’s flexibility comes from using technology similar to what is used in a self-driving car, customized for the warehouse environment. Fox’s forklifts use AI for real-time detection of pallets, trailers and obstacles and don’t need pre-programmed fixed locations. They use sensors and dynamic planning to plan routes on the fly and don’t require hand-drawn or memorized routes.

This investment lets Fox ramp up production to meet existing demand. Fox has been running pilots with large logistics companies since last October.

“The market for warehouse automation is huge and growing. The future of warehouse automation isn’t fixed automation systems that cost several hundred million dollars. It’s mobile robots that are low-cost, flexible and can be deployed incrementally and quickly,” said Charles DuHadway, CEO of Fox Robotics.

Fox aims to automate 20 percent of the 1.5 million forklifts sold annually (a $7.5 billion market). Fox is led by Charles DuHadway and Peter Anderson-Sprecher, who have built robots and led robotic teams at Stanford, CMU, Bosch, Google Robotics, Google X and KUKA.