Missing or buried in many announcements about Singapore-based GreyOrange’s decision to put a U.S. headquarters in Atlanta was a potentially bigger coup for the metro area: A factory that will make 20,000 autonomous robots over three years starting in 2019.
GreyOrange, which sells AI-enabled robots that pick parts, arrange orders or replenish inventories in partnership with human workers at automated warehouses, is keeping its factory plans close to the vest.
But a spokesperson told Global Atlanta that the factory and the corporate headquarters will be separate locations both in the metro area. The spokesperson couldn’t pinpoint the number of jobs, other than to say there will be “quite a lot” to meet the goal of making such a large number of robots.
The company in August announced a major expansion into the U.S. to build on existing customer relationships and form new ones with distribution and logistics companies aiming to improve the efficiency of their supply chains.
Immediate plans call for filling 50 jobs at the Atlanta headquarters, with further hiring envisioned in the near future. GreyOrange also said it would open a research and development center in Boston, adding 60 engineers in artificial intelligence, human-machine interface, machine vision, data intelligence and other specialized fields. That puts the company’s global engineering headcount over 300. Offices are located in Singapore, India, Japan, Germany and now, the U.S.
Though the customer wasn’t disclosed, the initial “client site” in the Atlanta area calls for 740 robots. GreyOrange said in a news release that this and other sites will create “thousands” of jobs across the U.S., and that doesn’t include the proposed factory.
E-commerce giant Amazon is known to use robots in its fulfillment centers, of which a few exist in the metro area. Atlanta’s logistics credentials are part of its pitch to land the whale of all economic development projects: Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters. After a nationwide pageant, the company has whittled prospective cities down to a list of 20. Atlanta remains a contender.