Saturday, January 21, 2017

$250 million awarded to new Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, the new institute is made up of governments, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations from across the country. Combined they have contributed $173 million that will be fused with $80 million in federal funding.

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Posted on 01/17/17

Travel Planning: 2017 Robotics Events Calendar

2017 offers a variety of informative robotic events. Some take extra time to get visas, tickets and coordinate with friends and associates. Here are the main upcoming robotics-related events:

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Posted on 01/16/17

Parrot struggling, Lily fails and Google closes Titan Project as drone industry disunites

Entertainment, camera, moon-shot and military drones are all becomming more distinct as the drone industry gets commoditized. Prices are dropping even as impressive new features are added. It's a difficult time for drone makers.

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Posted on 01/12/17

Rethink Robotics raises another $18 million

Rethink Robotics, the Boston-based maker of the Baxter and Sawyer robots founded by iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks, raised an additional $18 million in an unfinished $33 million Series E round led by private equity firm Adveq.

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Posted on 01/12/17

21 research reports forecast double-digit growth for robotics

After reading all the press releases for this batch of 21 research reports, one can see that although they vary widely in their forecasts they almost all agree that the robotics market is expected to grow at a double digit pace through 2022.

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Posted on 01/09/17

$18.867 billion paid to acquire 50 robotics companies in 2016

2016 was a banner year for acquisitions of companies involved in robotics and automation: 50 sold; 11 for amounts over $500 million; five were over a billion. 30 of the 50 companies disclosed transaction amounts which totaled up to a colossal $18.867 billion!

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Posted on 01/05/17

2016 best year ever for funding robotics startup companies

It was a busy and abundant year for seed, crowd, series A,B,C,D and VC funding of robotics-related startups. 128 companies got funded, some multiple times. $1.95 billion, 50% more than 2015 which was also a phenomenal year with over $1.32 billion funded.

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Posted on 01/02/17

December fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Ten robotics-related companies got funded in December for a combined total of $94 million; down from $225 million in November. Four more got acquired. Over $2 billion was involved. No companies went public.

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Posted on 12/30/16

Views and forecasts about robotics for the ag industry

At RoboUniverse in San Diego in December, agricultural robots and the labor shortage were quickly identified as the biggest issues facing the industry today. Water scarcity and field health were other key issues mentioned, but it’s labor that keeps farmers up at night and robotics that could come to their rescue.

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Posted on 12/27/16

Jibo look-alike appears on Chinese websites

For all of us who participated in the Jibo IndieGoGo crowdfunding and are anxiously awaiting delivery - which has been delayed again - this Chinese knock-off came as quite a surprise.

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Posted on 12/22/16

KUKA AERO sold to comply with US objections of sale to Chinese Midea

Advanced Integration Technology (AIT) will acquire KUKA Systems Aerospace North America (KUKA Aero), in a carve-out transaction to comply with U.S. regulators who objected to KUKA's sale to Chinese consumer products manufacturer Midea.

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Posted on 12/21/16

Big year for acquisitions: Latest is Teledyne Technologies acquiring E2V Technologies

It's been a big year for acquisitions of companies involved in robotics and automation: 48 have sold thus far in 2016. Eight involved amounts over $500 million and five were over a billion; KUKA's acquisition by Chinese consumer products giant Midea was the biggest at $5.11 billion.

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Posted on 12/13/16

Robots may save the global economy

A recent article in The Washington Post by Morgan Stanley strategist and author of "The Rise and Fall of Nations" Ruchir Sharma, provides a nuanced overview of the issues of jobs, robots, productivity and income disparity.

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Posted on 12/11/16

Liquid Robotics acquired by Boeing Defense, Space & Security

In a move consistent with many other recent acquisitions of stars within the robotics industry, Liquid Robotics announced that they sold their company to Boeing's Autonomous Systems for Defense, Space & Security division.

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Posted on 12/08/16

Beijing World Robot Conference drew big crowds and notable speakers

The Beijing World Robot Conference (WRC), sponsored by Beijing City, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the China Association of Science and Technology, was held October 21-25. It was big, long, ran over a weekend, and gave a run-down of the breath of China's fast-emerging robotics industry.

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Posted on 12/06/16

Self-driving cars, networks, and the companies and people that are stimulating development

Intel is establishing an autonomous driving division; hacker George Hotz is open-sourcing his self-driving software in a bid to become a network company; LiDAR and distancing devices are changing. What's it all mean?

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Posted on 12/02/16

November fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Seventeen robotics-related companies got funded for a combined total of over $225 million. Four more got acquired. Three went public to raise funds. And one failed.

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Posted on 12/01/16

Rising need for nursery, indoor and vertical farming

To meet rising food demands from a growing global population, over 250 million acres of arable land will be needed – about 20% more land than all of Brazil.

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Posted on 11/26/16

Let’s hope Trump does what he says regarding robots and robotics

In President-elect Trump's interview with the NY Times yesterday, when discussing jobs, closed factories and factories that may leave the country, he was asked: "Are you worried that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?

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Posted on 11/23/16

US auto industry installed 135,000 robots AND added 230,000 jobs

In the last six years, (2010–2015), according to the IFR (International Federation of Robotics), US industry has installed around 135,000 new industrial robots. The principal driver is automation in the car industry. During this same period, (2010–2015), the number of employees in the automotive sector increased by 230,000.

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Posted on 11/23/16

Two robotic stock IPOs coming to market

For the last many years there have been very few stock IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). Promising companies have been acquired instead, eg: Kiva Systems and Universal Robots. But two robotics-related companies have recently filed: one for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the other for the New York Stock Exchange.

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Posted on 11/21/16

Some social robots are selling well; others are stalled or failing

Amazon's Echo sales have exceeded 4 million and they are ramping up to sell 10 million in 2017; Google's Home has received positive reviews and have just begun selling in large numbers; but SoftBank's Pepper and Cynthia Breazeal's Jibo have either failed or are stalled. Why?

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Posted on 11/16/16

Lofty goals crash land while B2B drones prosper

Key executives leaving (or were requested to leave) Goggle's drone delivery Project Wing; GoPro recalls all of its newly launched Karma drones and doesn't offer a replacement; DJI slashes prices. What's going on?

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Posted on 11/15/16

Digital farms are already a reality

Farmers, ranchers and growers the world over are transitioning to precision agricultural methods, i.e., subdividing their acreage into many unique sub-plots -- in some cases right down to the individual plant, tree, or animal.

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Posted on 11/07/16

Zoox raises $50 million for their stealthy Silicon Valley venture

Zoox, the secretive Silicon Valley startup working to build its own self-driving cars, has quietly raised $50 million (in October) in a Series A round led by Composite Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. This brings Zoox's total equity funding to $290 million.

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Posted on 11/07/16

October fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

October fundings for robotics-related startups totaled $291.75 million bringing the year-to-date funding figure very close to $1.5 billion. For acquisitions, three of the six companies acquired reported that $390.5 million traded hands. All in all another strong month for robotics.

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Posted on 11/01/16

The delicate balance between brilliance, safety and arrogance

Silicon Valley and other technology centers have their share of brilliant minds. Some of them have similarly outstanding egos. A few of those have very short fuses. Such is the story of George Hotz.

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Posted on 10/30/16

The changing landscape of drone funding

CB Insights Drone Quarterly Financing Trends to VC-Backed Companies shows a downward trend. The Robot Report's monthly funding reports shows something different: a change in the nature of drone applications getting funded.

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Posted on 10/25/16

Why DJI is succeeding in making and selling drones and 3DR didn’t

It was clear that DJI was winning the drone war by the end of 2015. Today's best sellers are mostly DJI products. Other makers (Parrot, 3D Robotics, Autel, Yuneec et al) haven't been able to capture any significant portion of the camera drone market. Most saw the writing on the wall and began switching to becoming drone service providers in other marketplaces.

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Posted on 10/17/16

IFR’s two reports for 2015 show double-digit growth for remainder of decade

Each year the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) surveys and tabulates data from its worldwide network of robotics associations. The two 2016 annual World Robotics Industrial Robots and World Robotics Service Robots reports represent the IFR's analysis of 2015 results.

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Posted on 10/15/16

“AI is on the verge of changing everything” said Charlie Rose on CBS 60 Minutes

In a quest to understand why and where all the billions of dollars are being spent on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Charlie Rose and the CBS 60 Minutes team took us on a journey to a cancer hospital in North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and the Carnegie Mellon University robotics lab in Pittsburgh.

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Posted on 10/14/16

Zymergen gets $130 million from SoftBank and other VCs

SoftBank, the Japanese telecom conglomerate, led a group that included Iconiq Capital, Prelude Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, and seven others in a $130 million funding round for Zymergen to help the company grow its workforce and scale its operations in Silicon Valley.

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Posted on 10/11/16

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Samsung acquires Viv—it’s a long story

Dag Kittlaus was the founder and CEO of Siri, Inc. which produced an app that went into the Apple App Store in February 2010. The app quickly rose to 1st place in the Lifestyle section of the app store. In March, 2010, Steve Jobs called Kittlaus and started the dialogue that ended when Apple acquired Siri at the end of April 2010.

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Posted on 10/07/16