Signing of Exclusive Distributorship Agreement for High-Precision Robots for Logistics Warehouse Automation in Japan and Launching of RaaS Business

Sep 30, 2022

Signing of Exclusive Distributorship Agreement for High-Precision Robots for Logistics Warehouse Automation in Japan and Launching of RaaS Business

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-Providing solution to logistical crisis-

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement in Japan with Dexterity, Inc. (hereinafter “Dexterity”), a US-based company providing AI robotics software. Considering forecasts estimating the growth of the Japanese market for next-generation logistics business systems, including robotics automation, is forecasted to reach 1 trillion JPY by 2025. By collaborating with Dexterity, Sumitomo Corporation will launch its Robotics as a Service (RaaS) business (note), to improve the efficiency and sophistication of the logistics industry in Japan.

With the growth of e-commerce and lifestyle changes by the COVID-19, logistics in Japan is under pressure due to the rapid growing volume of goods described as “logistical crisis.” The number of parcel delivery services grew to approximately 4.8 billion in 2020, compared to 3 billion in 2010. In addition, labor shortages due to declining birthrates and aging demographics, warehouse operations require more efficiency and sophistication. Meanwhile, current operational robots are only able to handle predefined objects and movements, meaning human supports are still needed in logistical operations.

Dexterity provides proprietary full-stack robotic intelligence software that combines AI, computer vision, and control technologies to make traditional robots capable of handling complicated logistics tasks that previously could only be done manually. Compared to existing operational robots, Dexterity’s technology enables robots to handle human-level complex tasks with speed and low up-front costs.

Dexterity-powered robots have shipped tens of millions of goods for large retailers, manufacturers, and parcel carriers. In October 2021, Dexterity was valued at 1.4 billion USD after raising 180 million USD in its Series B financing round.

Sumitomo Corporation invested in Dexterity in 2020 through Presidio Ventures Inc., a U.S. corporate venture capital (CVC) and has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement in Japan. Sumitomo Corporation will interview logistics and retail companies about the issues they face and implement Dexterity’s software on hardware to provide solutions in Japan, targeting to sell 1,500 units by 2026. Furthermore, to show Dexterity’s software performance, a demo center is planned to be opened in the Kanto region in November 2022. Sumitomo Corporation will also collaborate with our logistics facilities, “SOSiLA” and provide Dexterity’s robot arms and other equipment to SOSiLA tenants.

Sumitomo Corporation will utilize its vast business network and group’s integrated corporate strength to realize factory automation using innovative digital technology, such as Dexterity’s products. In addition, Sumitomo Corporation aims to contribute to the development of local communities and industries by establishing RaaS business, automating processes in logistics and manufacturing fields.

(Note) Robotics as a Service (RaaS) business: providing wide variety of high-performance devices and technologies on a subscription basis.