Global contract manufacturer Magna International has agreed to produce and scale a fleet of autonomous delivery robots for silicon valley-based robotics company Cartken. The robots are being built at a Magna facility in Michigan and will soon offer autonomous last-mile deliveries to businesses around the world.

Magna International ($MGA) sits as one of the top contract manufacturers in the world, particularly in the world of automotive mobility. The company has produced over 3.7 million vehicles across thirty different models for 10 different OEM customers, including the likes of Ford, Rivian, and GM. This fall, Magna will begin production of Fisker Inc.’s flagship EV, the Ocean.

As the entire automotive industry quickly pivots toward all-electric models, Magna has followed suit, developing everything from electrified power trains to battery enclosures and ADAS systems. That being said, there are plenty of advanced technologies Magna develops and implements on its own that not only apply to the automotive world but advanced mobility as a whole.

Magna International describes itself as a 65-year-old start-up and didn’t become the largest contract manufacturer in North America by simply building cars for OEMs. Magna looks to help further new mobility by helping solve today’s challenges sustainably.

This is a huge reason why an agreement to build autonomous delivery robots for Cartken makes a lot of sense.

autonomous delivery robots
Source: Cartken

Magna begins building Model C autonomous delivery robots

Magna International announced its latest manufacturing collaboration in a press release today, sharing insight into the decision to help scale Cartken’s autonomous delivery robot technology to help support a growing segment of sustainable last-mile delivery vehicles. Magna’s executive vice president and global lead for new mobility, Matteo Del Sorbo, elaborated:

We continue to identify opportunities in the new mobility ecosystem where we use our capabilities to unlock new growth areas and new business models. This collaboration with Cartken is great example of that approach. Our ability to design, engineer and manufacture complete vehicles makes Magna an ideal partner for companies looking to solve last mile delivery challenges with sustainable, autonomous and cost-effective solutions.

Cartken’s Model C is a fully autonomous delivery robot, equipped with a remote monitoring and teleoperation system that allows for instant human override if needed. These robots can smoothly traverse indoor and outdoor situations and are equipped with multiple cameras, advanced machine learning, and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)-based navigation algorithms.

Under the current terms of the agreement, Cartken expects thousands of autonomous delivery robots to be manufactured once Magna’s production capacity ramps up in the coming months.

Cartken’s current fleet of Model C autonomous delivery robots is already in commercial operation, serving various use cases in malls, hotels, universities, retail, and warehouses around the globe. With Magna’s help, Cartken looks to expand its autonomous footprint much further. Company cofounder and CEO, Christian Bersch, shared his thoughts:

We seek strategic partners that can accelerate the trajectory of Cartken’s growth. This partnership is a significant step toward scaling our business and getting more Model C’s into the world. We’re honored that Magna, as a global leader with deep systems knowledge and manufacturing excellence, recognized the potential of our robots and the quality of our technology. We’re inspired by Magna’s push into new spaces and are excited to move forward together in our effort to scale distribution.

Looking ahead, both parties are discussing additional autonomous delivery robot models joining the assembly line, based on the same platform as the Model C. Future models could serve additional business models like robot-as-a-service. For now, Model C production is underway at Magna’s manufacturing facility in Michigan and will continue to expand through 2022.

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Scooter Doll

Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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