Ocado warehouse robots collide, causing fire and evacuation

Occurred: July 2021

Three robots collided at an Ocado warehouse in Erith, south-east London, causing a fire and the facility's evacuation. 

The incident disrupted operations, led to the evacuation of about 800 staff members, and resulted in the cancellation of thousands of orders. Around 100 firefighters worked overnight to contain the blaze

No injuries were reported. At the time, the warehouse was serviced by around 3,500 delivery-packing robots. 

The damage, which Ocado estimated to cost GBP 35 million, was limited to a small section of the warehouse. The company’s shares slipped by about 3 percent. 

The incident raised questions about the safety of Ocado's automated packing system.

 In July 2019, an Ocado robot malfunctioned in its Andover warehouse, resulting in a major fire. The warehouse had to re-built at an estimated cost of GBP 110 million.

Operator: Ocado
Developer: Ocado
Country: UK
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Pick groceries
Technology: Robotics
Issue: Safety

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: November 2021