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Fetch Robotics Raises $46 Million Series C

Fetch Robotics CEO Melonee Wise image: RISE on Flickr Fetch Robotics, a Silicon Valley-based maker of warehouse robots, has raised $46 million in Series C funding led by Fort Ross Ventures, with participation from both new and existing investors, including Softbank Capital, Sway Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Zebra Ventures, TransLink Capital and more. This funding included, Fetch Robotics has now raised $94 million since inception. Fetch Robotics says it'll funnel the new funding towards international expansion, ongoing R&D, and acceleration of customer demand. “Customers have responded enthusiastically to our unique Cloud Robotics solution, and we’re responding by securing the funds we need to continue growing and enhancing our offerings,” CEO Melonee Wise said in a press release. “The competitive pressures for excellence in logistics have never been greater. Our Autonomous Mobile Robots and cloud platform enables our customers to meet their customers’ demands while

Lehmann Shows Us Postmates' Cute Little Robot

Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann Photograph by Fortune Magazine Amid tittle-tattles of Postmates shopping itself to several buyers , CEO Bastian Lehmann appeared at a recent Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference  [video] to talk about the delivery company and the gig economy on the whole. Lehmann addressed acquisition rumors with a casual statement of "..I can’t comment" although he later said the "..plan is to take it public". Postmates confidentially filed for an IPO earlier this year but hasn't [soon-after] followed up with an official S-1 filing as conventionally done. Shortly after the Fortune conference, Lehmann also penned an op-ed on CNN that pushed for improvement of workforce conditions for gig economy workers and corporation with labor unions. "...Gig companies don't have a long history of working with organized labor, but the way forward depends on us viewing unions as working partners, not sparring partners." Lehmann wrote in his o

Domino's And Nuro Partner For Autonomous Pizza Delivery

A Nuro unmanned delivery vehicle stocked with Domino's pizza. Image: Nuro Nuro -- a company making driverless delivery vehicles that's backed by more than $1 billion in funding, including a $940 million round led earlier this year by the Softbank Vision Fund -- has partnered with popular pizza franchise Domino's to deliver pizza to customers with its self-driving vehicles. A pilot program will kick off in Houston, Texas -- where Nuro already delivers groceries -- to deliver pizza to some customers. The customers who will receive orders from Nuro's autonomous vehicles are those that order from one of Domino's participating stores. Once they order, customers will be able to track Nuro's delivery vehicles within the Domino's app, and will also be provided with a PIN to unlock the vehicle's compartment -- where their pizza is stored -- once it reaches their destination. The name Nuro may be familiar, as it also delivers groceries for Kroger, th

Meet Ford's Delivery Robot

Digit image: Ford Ford recently teamed up with Agility Robotics -- a Playground Global backed robotics company spun out of Oregon State University -- on a new bipedal autonomous delivery robot named Digit , that'll carry out the final step of getting delivered packages from the vehicle to the customer's door. The new robot is a stand-out concept of many designs and visions laid out by various companies for robo-deliveries. Digit, the two-legged robot is made of lightweight material and is capable of lifting packages weighing up to 40 pounds (18.1kg). It can go up and down stairs, work through uneven terrain and even react to physical actions like being bumped into without losing its balance and tripping over. Ford and Agility Robotics fitted the package delivery robot with wheels to make it easy for walking through obstacles. It's capable of folding itself up for easy storage at the back of a delivery vehicle until it's called into action. In Ford's v

Vector Maker Anki Shuts Down

Anki CEO Boris Sofman image: TechCrunch / Flickr Anki, the San Francisco based robotics startup behind popular consumer robots like Vector and Anki and backed by nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data  is shutting its doors and laying off its entire staff. Recode first reported this on Monday. According to its report, CEO Boris Sofman -- at a teary all-hands meeting - told Anki's staff (close to 200 employees) that they would be terminated on Wednesday and paid a week of severance. The report also says Sofman had earlier told employees that the company was scrambling to find more funding after a new financing round receded at the last minute. This isn't a small shut-down as Anki said last fall it had "approached" $100 million in 2017 revenue and expected to surpass that figure in 2018. Anki's leadership had previously told employees that it was looking after acquisition interest from companies like Comcast, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Brain Corp Debuts Delivery Robot

image: Brain Corp San Diego based robotics company Brain Corp has debuted an autonomous delivery robot. Dubbed  AutoDelivery , Brain Corp says it's a new "proof-of-concept" powered by its BrainOS software. The new delivery robot will be capable of moving common cart types of goods to and fro places. Brain Corp touts it as a solution for the likes of commercial and retail facilities, warehouses and factories. It says it's exploring potential manufacturing partners for the new robot and targeting a commercial launch in early 2020. The AutoDelivery robot will be demoed at this year's ProMat Show holding from the 8th-11th of April. image: Brain Corp Brain Corp is one of the most high-profile robotics companies, drawing eyeballs after a $114 million Series C round led by Softbank in 2017. The San Diego headquartered company notably partnered with Walmart in December to fill its stores with robots powered by BrainOS. BrainOS also powers machines made by

Daimler Acquires Majority Stake In Torc Robotics

(From left-right) Torc Robotics CEO Michael Fleming and Daimler Trucks CEO Roger Nielsen image: Daimler Daimler Trucks has reached a deal to acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics - a Blacksburg, Virginia based self-driving company founded in 2005 - for an undisclosed sum. Both parties will join forces to work on commercialisation of automated trucks on U.S. roads. Torc's team will collaborate with Daimler Trucks' developers, particularly its R&D team in the state of Oregon for this. Torc will continue to develop the Asimov automated driving software it's known for at its Virginia facility. It'll still remain a separate entity maintaining its name, team, facilities and existing customers in the state of Virginia. The partnership with Daimler will enable it significantly expand its team and service its customer base in other markets, a press release noted. A Torc self-driving vehicle image: Torc Robotics Torc Robotics with around 100 emplo

UPS Partners With Matternet For Medical Drone Deliveries

image: UPS UPS has partnered with drone startup Matternet to deliver medical samples via unmanned drones. Deliveries will take place at the hospital and campus of WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina. Test flights have already taken place at the campus in August 2018 as part of a pilot program set up by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has set up a three-year long program that aims to test practical applications of drones by working with private companies and local governments. UPS will make use of Matternet's M2 quadcopter - one powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, capable of ferrying medical payloads weighing up to about 5 lbs. over distances of up to 12.5 miles. - for the deliveries. The Matternet M2 quadcopter image: Matternet The quadcopter will fly through a pre-determined path - while monitored by a specially trained pilot - to a fixed landing pad at WakeMed’s main hospital and central pathology lab. The three parties involved - UPS

iRobot Unveils Robot Lawn Mover

Navigation for the robot lawn mower image : iRobot Massachusetts based iRobot, the company behind the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and Braava line of robot mops has unveiled a new product, this time a robot lawn mover it says is kit with "state-of-the-art mapping and navigation technologies" that enables high-performance and high-quality mowing. The new robot named Terra  is capable of mapping its course after being schooled, with the use of wireless beacons users get to place around their yard and then drive the robot once around the perimeter. Once this is done, the robot charts its course, navigating the yard while remembering where it needs to cover. If its battery runs low, it will return to its base to recharge and then re-commence mowing until the yard handed to it is completely mowed. image : iRobot Beacon placement for the robot lawn mower image : iRobot The Terra image : iRobot Users can also make use of the iRobot Home App to cust

Amazon Unveils Fully-Electric Autonomous Delivery Robot, "Scout"

Amazon Scout image : Amazon Amazon has unveiled a fully-electric delivery robot - Amazon Scout - comparable to the size of a small cooler that will roll along sidewalks at a walking pace. The company says it will begin delivering packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington. Customers in this neigborhood will be able to order from Amazon just like they normally would and get their packages delivered by either an Amazon partner carrier or the Amazon Scout. Amazon is starting with six of these robots, delivering packages Monday through Friday during daytime. The robots would autonomously follow their delivery route but will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee, the company says. The Amazon Scout was developed at the company's research and development lab in Seattle, a place also home to research labs of Microsoft and Facebook. Another company with a recently unveiled delivery robot is Postmates, which unveiled an autonomous delivery

Misty II Personal Robot Scheduled To Ship In April

Misty II image : Misty Robotics The Misty II, a personal robot developed by robotics startup Misty which non-technical owners can program using a custom visual block-based programming interface, will be available for purchase April this year for $2,399, a four months delay from its initially proposed released date (the 4th of December). Beginning April, customers can get their hands on the robot which would come installed with pre-set skills to get them started on use. Those with programming experience will be able to utilize JavaScript APIs to create more skills and mods such as integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cognitive Services and other Cloud APIs. Skills the Misty II can perform out of the box include: Recognize faces Create a 3D map of her surroundings Autonomous movement Receive and respond to commands Locate its charger to charge itself Display emotive eyes and other emotional characteristics  Perform seeing, hearing, and speaki

PepsiCo Is Rolling Out Robots Dubbed "Snackbots" To Deliver Snacks To College Students

image : PepsiCo PepsiCo is rolling out a fleet of robots dubbed "snackbots" at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California to deliver snacks and beverages from its Hello Goodness brand ordered via an iOS app to students. It's partnering with Bay Area-based Robby Technologies for this effort. The beverage giant is building on the initial success of its Hello Goodness vending platform, expanding the idea of "curated convenience" into new locations, formats and experiences to deliver 50,000 units vending units by year end. The roll-out of these robots count as part of the efforts. Students of the University of Pacific can order food and drinks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. via a snackbot iOS app with delivery available to over 50 designated areas across the 175-acre campus. The robots can go 20 miles on a single charge and are equipped with camera and headlights to allow it see and navigate carefully in rain or full darkness, PepsiCo says. It also com

Postmates Unveils New Delivery Robot, 'Serve'

Postmates Postmates has unveiled a robotic delivery device built from the ground up to deliver small items over short distances effectively. The new autonomous robot, Serve pairs a patented "Socially-Aware-Navigation system" with proprietary Postmates software to join the Postmates fleet of over 350,000 couriers in delivering items to its users. It runs on electricity and moves at walking speed, enabling it to route deliveries away from crowded streets and onto sidewalks. "7 years and hundreds of millions of deliveries later — we realized that we are in unique position to create our very own autonomous delivery vehicle" A post from Postmates read..."By developing an in-house, design-first approach, Serve was built to respect cities, meets customer demands, and helps local businesses sell even more." Postmates The new robot contain advanced set of sensors including Velodyne Lidar and makes use of an NVIDIA XAVIER processor for interact

Walmart Stores are Getting Cleaning Robots Powered by Softbank-backed Brain Corp's OS

Walmart Walmart has partnered with San-Diego based Brain Corp, an AI company backed by the likes of Softbank and Qualcomm to fill its stores with 360 cleaning robots powered by software from Brain. It expects this to be put in place by the end of its fiscal 2019 year on the 31st of January. These autonomous floor scrubbers powered by AI software dubbed BrainOS will perform its task after a quick route map by a store associate and will kick off with the press of a single button. It's fitted with autonomous navigation and data collection capabilities tied to a cloud-based reporting system that makes use of multiple sensors to scan surroundings for people and obstacles before navigating their way through. An autonomous floor scrubber powered by BrainOS is pictured here in a Walmart location image : Brain Corp  "We're excited to work with Brain Corp in supporting our retail operations and providing our associates with a safe and reliable technology," Wal

Hyundai has commenced development of wearable industrial robots

Hyundai Auto manufacturer Hyundai has ventured into the robotics scene with a kick-off of development of its Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) wearable industrial robots which was demonstrated August last year in the Hyundai-KIA North American factory and stands as part of the five areas of future innovation growth selected by Hyundai earlier this year. The auto manufacturer is developing technology in three areas of robotics: service robots, wearable robots and micro-mobility and is also in the process of strategic cooperation with several companies centered on robotic and artificial intelligence technology. Hyundai The first H-CEX wearable robot developed for industrial use is a knee joint protective device that helps workers maintain the sitting position and weight just 1.6 kg yet is durable and capable of withstanding weights of up to 150kg. It features waist, thigh and knee belts that can be easily fitted and adjusted to the user's height and also three different angl

Former Autodesk Exec led startup Bright Machines raises $179 million to automate manufacturing processes in factories

Bright Machines, a San Francisco based startup led by former Autodesk and Flex executives aimed at making use of a combination of robots and new software for reduction of manual labor in manufacturing of electric devices has raised $179 million in venture capital while launching out of stealth. Eclipse Ventures led this round for Bright Machines which counts former Autodesk chief executive Amar Hanspal as its CEO and former Flex CEO Mike McNamara, Eclipse Ventures founder and also former Flex executive Lior Susan and ex Autodesk co-CEO Carl Bass as members of its board. The company focuses on “micro-factories” made of of robot cells and new software tools aimed at making the manufacturing process more efficient. It says its customers are using its tools in half a dozen countries for replacement of people who assemble and inspect electronics. In retrospect, Bright Machines' offerings are geared at plugging software gaps and making the process of designing to manufacturing mor

Softbank reportedly in discussions of investing up to $750 million in robotics Pizza startup Zume

Zume As per new reports, Behemoth tech investor Softbank is again prepping for another investment, This time in a startup notable for offering robot made and automated delivery Pizza to consumers with the Japanese based giant reportedly in talks of putting up to $750 million for investment into the Mountain View based startup. An investment in Zume which also licenses its technology to other vendors will result to one of the biggest funding rounds ever in the robotics and consumer startup space and well noted for the company which kicked off late 2015. As per Bloomberg , Softbank is planning a funding round weighed between $500 million to $750 million citing people familiar with the conversations. In addition to delivering and cooking Pizza for its customers, Zume holds a patent for delivery trucks which are capable of cooking food during the trip to its customers with the startup's trucks loaded partly by robots in addition to creating technologies aimed at mana

Boston Dynamics prepares to churn out 1000 robots annually beginning from next year

image credit : Boston Dynamics Softbank owned Robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics is now preparing to deliver its products for commercial use as the company which announced its intentions to take its agile and smart robots to the mainstream market is now geared towards producing its SpotMini (pictured above) robot at the rate of around 1,000 units per year according to its founder Marc Raibert who leads the company's efforts currently. Raibert states the SpotMini which is just one of its several robots is currently being tested for application and use in various tasks including use in delivery, security, home assistance and construction purposes. “We’ve built ten by hand, we’re building 100 with manufacturers at the end of this year, and at the end of 2019, we’re going to begin production at the rate of about 1,000 a year,” said Raibert with the company also aiming to make its product as a popular open-source platform which provides more innovation and foundation for further

Drones can now be tested "In Virtual Reality"

Researchers at the previous Massachusetts Institute of Technology have broken grounds on a system which would be ultimately used to test and train drones without the physical constraints attached using a VR system, The exact way we humans step into an immersive world when we put on a VR headset now applies to intelligent drones, These drones will learn how to avoid obstacles and collisions, Move at great speed and also maneuver through different positions all while learning like its actually doing it in the real world. This way, even when drones unfortunately hit an obstacle using this "Flight Goggles" system, The damages are studied and taken virtually as opposed to physical damage which takes a lot of time, delaying trials and costing much more money. This method simulates the drone's sensors moving it through a virtual world as seen in the video above preventing various obstacles such as high winds and different hanging obstacles such as transmission power lines w

Boston's Atlas Robot has the best of Abilities

                            Image credit : Boston Dynamics Boston Dynamics recently released new awesome footage on one of its robots - The Atlas, The footage below shows the robot having mastered the act of running and jumping displaying its agility and intelligence. The Atlas is described as the World's Most Dynamic Humanoid which makes use of balance and whole-body skills to achieve two-handed mobile manipulation. This robot made by Boston Dynamics, The Softbank owned Robotics company which spun off in 1992 and was formerly owned by Google's X Research arm is capable of performing tasks in large volume with the use of its streamlined 3D printed legs which makes it a very unique robot with a huge strength ratio and making it to complete its tasks with less time and stress. The Atlas will do various tasks every human does like lifting, carrying and manipulating the positions of different objects in both normal and rough conditions with the Robots capable of working

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