You are currently viewing The Warehouse Engineering Podcast #5: Gili Ovadia of BionicHIVE

The Warehouse Engineering Podcast #5: Gili Ovadia of BionicHIVE

It is not that long ago that friends and colleagues sent me the same video several times a day: A robot drives through the warehouse, then climbs up a seemingly conventional rack and picks up a box. The video went viral in a short amount of time because, on the one hand, it inspired laypeople who have nothing to do with warehouse automation (“Look what’s possible!”), but also amazed industry experts to the same extent (“WTF?”). And even Elon Musk has spoken out and commented on the video, which doesn’t happen every day in the world of warehouse technology.

I’m talking about BionicHIVE, of course.

BionicHIVE is a start-up from Israel and a fascinating company.[1] With a relatively small team and rather limited budget, a technology was developed which, in retrospect, will be judged as “of course it should be done this way”, but which none of the established companies dared to tackle or which perhaps many did not even think of. Conceptually closest is Exotec, another start-up and reasonably successful by now[2], but BionicHIVE goes one step further and wants to use existing infrastructure, i.e. it should not require shelves specially manufactured for use by robots and moreover allow mixed operation with humans. In addition, the Exotec Skypod is explicitly a goods-to-man picking system, whereas BionicHIVE keeps the exact application of the technology open.

I was lucky enough to talk to Gili Ovadia, VP Business Development at BionicHIVE, about the company and the system. Gili lives in Silicon Valley, has held various positions in start-ups and as a representative of the Israeli government, and was also an advisor to the Israeli Minister of Defense. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and hope you enjoy listening to it!

Warehouse Engineering Podcast #5

[1] There is probably no other country with more impressive start-ups per capita than Israel. If we had the same density of tech start-ups per capita here in Germany, climate change would be a thing of the past, I wouldn’t have to re-register my vehicle with an on-site appointment at the vehicle registration office every time I change my place of residence (as if my car would continue to live at my old place without me, are you kidding me?) and Volkswagen wouldn’t be able to afford to build engines that consume almost as much oil as Adblue.

[2] If the logistics project market wasn’t extremely large, some of the established providers would have already been shaven away because newer companies such as AutoStore or Exotec would have eaten their lunch before they woke up from their slumber.