New Vecna Co-Bot Pallet Jack with Big Joe Forklifts

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Entry-level Vecna CPJ brings intelligent, flexible material handling robotics solutions to labor-intensive “in-between” workflows that have been long ignored by automation. | Credit: Vecna

Editors Note: Vecna CIO and co-founder Daniel Theobald is speaking at the upcoming Robotics Summit in Boston, May 10-11, 2022. Daniel will be delivering a talk: “Build to Learn: How to Succeed Through Action”. Register now, so that you don’t miss this.

Vecna Robotics, today jointly announced at MODEX 2022 with Big Joe Forklifts, its latest autonomous offering for labor-intensive material-handling workflows called the Vecna Co-Bot Pallet Jack or Vecna CPJ. The solution leverages Vecna controls onboard a Big Joe designed pallet jack. The result is a fully autonomous pallet jack that brings the strength of both companies together into a strong offering for automated warehouse workflows.

The solution is designed to bring human-assisted robotics to warehouses and manufacturing facilities with labor-intensive workflows that have been long ignored by robotics automation, including shorter distances, lower throughput and tighter spaces. Internal simulations and field tests reveal up to 45% improvement in throughput versus human work only.

There are over 5 billion pallets in circulation and nearly 5 million manual pallet jacks at work moving them every day. With 70% of the total cost of moving those pallets being labor – and severe labor shortages crippling supply chains – Big Joe and Vecna Robotics identified a clear need for an autonomous material handling solution to handle “in-between” loads. The new offering combines Vecna Robotics’ proven expertise in autonomous mobile robots and orchestration with Big Joe’s trusted material handling hardware. Together, the two companies provide an easy-to-use, on-demand labor automation service that frees up human workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

“The last 18 months had driven huge demand for AMRs like autonomous forklifts, but current offerings are typically only accessible to very large facilities,” said Craig Malloy, CEO at Vecna Robotics. “Our CPJ is a game-changer as it allows facilities of varied sizes to address their immediate labor shortages with intelligent material handling robots. The new solution works seamlessly alongside human workers and automates a broader range of payloads, workflows, and environments that the market is not currently addressing.”

To maximize the accessibility of the product and help with immediate labor shortages, Vecna CPJ will be available through a Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) pricing model that is designed to support easy onboarding of robotics solutions and deliver rapid savings without the need for large Capex budgets.

Dan Theobald was instrumental in presenting the first public demonstration of the MassRobotics Interoperability Standard last fall. The following video shows robots from various companies working together within the same workspace:

“Bringing solutions to market that empower workers to better manage in-between material handling tasks is a core to who we are,” said Bill Pedriana, CMO of Big Joe. “We are thrilled to be working with an industry leader like Vecna Robotics to bring our first robotics offering to the masses together. Their intelligent and easy to deploy system will help our joint customers make moving workloads far more efficient day one.”

This platform also brings to market one of the first vehicles to leverage Quanergy Systems LiDAR technology. Quanergy is emerging as one of the leaders in solid state LiDAR which provides enhances resolution and lower cost.

“The time to democratize automation in material handling is now. This technology has long been exclusive to early adopters or those in select industries with large budgets for innovation,” said Enzo Signore, CMO at Quanergy. “In collaboration with Vecna Robotics, we have a unique opportunity to deliver a true co-bot solution to help companies overcome dire labor shortage issues with technology that can be immediately deployed, virtually out-of-the-box.”

The new vehicle will be available for purchase by the end of 2022, and offers the following features:

  • Flexible configurations for moving a variety of pallets, carts, racks, bins and other payloads up to 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs)
  • Full AMR functionality, including intelligent route planning, obstacle circumvention and transport at an accessible entry point
  • Seamless switching between autonomous and manual control, easy onboarding, user-friendly UI/UX for intuitive programming and collaborative workflows
  • Enterprise-class automation to historically underserved workflows, including pallet and tote consolidation, pick-to-packout, QA/QC/rework, and dunnage retrieval
  • Productivity boosts with collaborative human-robot workflows at large, multi-shift enterprise sites with tight spaces
  • Intelligent human-robot orchestration, autonomy, interoperability, remote monitoring, and analytics powered by Vecna’s Pivotal™ software

“Vecna Robotics’ new co-bot platform is an innovative, accessible solution for improving productivity in labor-intensive, under served workflows across the warehouse. We look forward to future tests of the platform and continued innovation from Vecna Robotics on automating material handling workflows,” said Andy Johnston, Senior Director of Innovation at GEODIS in Americas.

To learn more about the Vecna CPJ and to test drive the new offering, stop by showcase booth #C7485 or demo booth #B8837 at Modex or visit

Listen to Daniel Theobald on an early episode of The Robot Report Podcast:

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at