3 robots collided at a UK grocery giant’s warehouse, starting a fire that delayed thousands of orders

  • UK grocery giant Ocado delayed and canceled orders after a fire broke out at its London warehouse.
  • Three robots had collided, causing the fire, it said.
  • Thousands of robots zoom along a grid at Ocado’s automated warehouses, collecting groceries.

UK grocery giant Ocado was forced to delay or cancel thousands[1] of orders this weekend after a fire broke at one of its London warehouses, the BBC first reported.

The company said in a statement[2] Monday that three of its robots collided.TOP VIDEOS FOR YOUThousands of robots zoom along a grid[3] at its automated warehouses, collecting groceries and taking them to picking stations where employees pack orders. According to the BBC[4], this warehouse handles up to 150,000 orders a week.AdvertisementAs Insider’s Charlie Floyd previously reported[5], the grid uses an air traffic control system intended to prevent any crashes.

Ocado said the damage from the fire was limited to 1% of the grid, and that no employees were injured, but that 800 staff were evacuated.

The warehouse was closed for several days, impacting thousands of orders. The fire started Friday, June 16, and deliveries recommenced Monday morning at 5 a.m., Ocado said.


-ocado (@Ocado)

July 19, 2021[6]

Customers took to Twitter to complain about the lack of clarity around delays and cancellations.

A spokesperson for Ocado did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for more details.

-Rob N (@PeopleCallMeRob)

July 19, 2021[7]
Customers who live in other parts of the country were also confused as to why their orders had been impacted.Advertisement

-Minerva10v (@Minerva69)

July 19, 2021[8]

On Tuesday, Insider was unable to request a new delivery slot for a London address.

Slots showed up for other addresses in the UK, however.

Ocado delivery slots Ocado


  1. ^ thousands (twitter.com)
  2. ^ statement (www.ocadogroup.com)
  3. ^ Thousands of robots zoom along a grid (www.businessinsider.com)
  4. ^ BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)
  5. ^ reported (www.businessinsider.com)
  6. ^ July 19, 2021 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ July 19, 2021 (twitter.com)
  8. ^ July 19, 2021 (twitter.com)