Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 robotics in a word: MORE

The list of top stories in robotics for 2014 is a story of "MORE": MORE uses of and for robots; MORE serious discussions about robots; MORE robots in unusual places; MORE news in the financial press; MORE funding, acquisitions and IPOs; and MORE choices.

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Posted on 12/17/14

25% of KUKA shares trade hands

Voith GmbH, among the biggest family-owned businesses in Europe, acquired 25% of robot maker Kuka AG by buying the shares held by Grenzebach GmbH.

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Posted on 12/07/14

2014 Robotic Gift List

The Robot Report released its 2014 Holiday Gift List, a wide-ranging list of 15 of the latest robotics-related products for kids and adults of all ages.

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Posted on 12/01/14

Over 70,000 robotic vacuum cleaners sold on a single day

Just last month Rod Brooks chided me that robotic vacuum cleaners were already mainstream in response to what I had written: that they had just recently moved from niche to mainstream partly because big consumer product companies were entering the market.

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Posted on 11/20/14

ABB invests in AI startup Vicarious

ABB Technology Ventures, the VC arm of ABB, joins a long list of notables investing in artificial intelligence startup Vicarious Systems that include Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Vinod Khosla and Ashton Kutcher.

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Posted on 11/10/14

Seegrid files for Chapter 11 protection

Seegrid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week. The bankruptcy judge authorized Seegrid to borrow from its lender and biggest shareholder, Giant Eagle, so that it could continue operations.

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Posted on 10/24/14

Medrobotics, Monsieur and Arago all get funding

Venture funding is continuing to flow. Three recent recipients: $20 million to Medrobotics, $2 million to Monsieur and $55 million to Arago AG.

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Posted on 10/21/14

At RoboBusiness, start-up contest chooses 3 winners

At RoboBusiness this week in Boston, Pitchfire - a Shark Tank-like pitch and question session - presented 14 start-up companies who pitched their wares to 5 judges. 3 winners were chosen.

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Posted on 10/15/14

UCSD investing in robotics

At a one-day forum on the UCSD campus, Chancellor Pradeep Khosla did two unusual things: he spent most of the day at the Contextual Robotics Technologies Intl Forum, and he announced that UCSD would create five new faculty slots in robotics and plans to develop a world-class robotics cluster in the San Diego area.

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Posted on 10/13/14

Vision-enabled package handling

Capturing and processing camera and sensor data and recognizing various shapes to determine a set of robotic actions is conceptually easy. Humans do it naturally. But it is difficult for a machine.

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Posted on 09/27/14

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Food delivery drones planned for Singapore restaurant chain

Planned to be deployed at Singapore's Timbre Group 12-inch Pizza & Records restaurant in late 2015, these flying robotic waiters were recently presented to Singapore's Prime Minister at the launch of National Productivity Month.

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Posted on 12/09/14

Agricultural technology making news

My November 18th article Are Ag Robots Ready was our most widely read 2014 posting to date. Now there are two new in-depth articles on the subject by the NY Times and San Jose Mercury News. All are informative and worth your time to read.

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Posted on 12/01/14

Are ag robots ready? 27 companies profiled

Agriculture is one of our most important industries. It provides food, feed and fuel necessary for our survival. With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural production must double to meet the demand. And because of limited arable land, productivity must increase 25% to help meet that goal.

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Posted on 11/18/14

ROBO-STOX® introduces European Robotics and Automation Index

ROBO-STOX® licenses their proprietary index to ETF Securities to provide European investors with highly diversified access to a new age of growth in robotics and automation.

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Posted on 11/03/14

Google news briefs

UPDATED 11-11-14: Andy Rubin leaves Google; Sundar Pichai promoted to #2 man at Google; Google invests in $542 million funding for Magic Leap; and commits $1.36 billion for NASA facility to house Google's robotics, space and flight technologies.

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Posted on 10/31/14

Two robotic start-up companies make news

Two robotic start-up companies, one in India and the other California, received favorable media attention recently.

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Posted on 10/28/14

2013 Stats from the IFR; 3rd qtr results for 2014 set new records in US

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) recently released their annual statistical recap and four-year forecast for the robotics industry. The IFR produces two research books; one which covers industrial robots and the other for service robots.

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Posted on 10/26/14

4 reports predict steady growth for robotics

Four recent research reports covering service robots, vision guided robotics, material handling robots, and robot component speed reducers, all predict steady growth, particularly in China.

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Posted on 10/15/14

Self-driving car test sites

Swarm communication and urban city driving are integral to the safe deployment of self-driving cars. Mercedes-Benz and a joint Michigan-based consortium are setting up secure test sites in California and Michigan to test their solutions.

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Posted on 10/08/14

DHL UAS Parcel Delivery Gets First Test

DHL launches first authorized autonomous delivery flights by "parcelcopter" to and from the North Sea island of Juist, 7.5 miles off the coast of Northern Germany.

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Posted on 09/24/14

10.1% CAGR projected for material handling robots through 2020

Robots for palletizing, packaging, and speciality materials handling (e.g.: in life science labs and for pharma, food and beverage, semiconductor and electronics) are projected to grow at a 10.1% CAGR and reach $31.3 billion by 2020.

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Posted on 12/15/14

Christmas is orange at Amazon

15,000+ bright orange Kiva robots are operating across the US and at 10 Amazon fulfillment distribution centers this holiday season.

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Posted on 12/02/14

Ozobot, Knightscope, Hibot and Airware all get funded

Four interesting funding announcements: Ozobot got $2 million; HiBot got $3.1; Knightscope got $3.7 and Airware got an undisclosed amount but from a substantial partner: GE Ventures.

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Posted on 11/28/14

Japan’s new robotics push: funding and deregulation

In June, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted to treble the market for robots in Japan to $22 billion by 2020. Last month, the government launched a "robot revolution realization council" to craft a five-year blueprint to beef up the industry.

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Posted on 11/25/14

MecklerMedia launches RoboUniverse

MecklerMedia, a trade show organizer, is launching a new three-day, two-track workshop, seminar and exhibition on most verticals in robotics (other than heavy industry, military and space) to be held May 11-13 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

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Posted on 11/21/14

UN discusses humanitarian uses of drones

At a recent meeting at the United Nations, UN and UNICEF officials met with NGOs including Red Cross, food and peacekeeping groups, to discuss setting up a network of humanitarian uses for drones and to inform, educate and expose all to possible uses.

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Posted on 11/16/14

Latest research report shows 10.4% CAGR for robotics to 2025

Boston Consulting Group (BSG) recently released a global robotics market study which projects industry growth of 10.4% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate).

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Posted on 11/07/14

Nestlé 1st big buyer of Softbank’s Pepper robot

Earlier this year Softbank announced the launch of Pepper, a robot created specifically for SoftBank and the Japanese market. Last week Nestlé announced that it will use Pepper to sell its Nescafé products.

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Posted on 11/01/14

Google adding to UK DeepMind Acquisition

In January, 2014, Google acquired London-based DeepMind Technologies for $643 million. Now it is adding to that purchase with 2 more companies, 10 new hires and a substantial contribution to Oxford University.

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Posted on 10/24/14

KUKA acquires Swisslog for $357 million

Late last month KUKA made a public offer to Swisslog shareholders to purchase their shares at 8.9% above the market price. Swisslog’s Board of Directors have recommended that the offer be accepted.

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Posted on 10/18/14