Saturday, March 25, 2017

Baidu loses A.I. star Andrew Ng

In a surprise move which shook Baidu's stock, Andrew Ng, Baidu's Chief Scientist and partner with Baidu's founder Robin Li Yanhong in expanding Baidu's AI activities into machine learning, driverless vehicles, and to power AI usage in advertising, maps, takeout delivery, and voice-activated search, resigned.

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Posted on 03/22/17

Robot stars in UK play

In a poignant play traveling throughout the UK on tour, a robot is the co-star as companion to the wife of the robot builder, a woman who is developing Alzheimer's.

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Posted on 03/20/17

Bosch and Nvidia partner to develop AI for self-driving cars

Amongst all the activity in autonomously driven vehicle joint ventures, new R&D facilities, strategic acquisitions (such as Mobileye being acquired by Intel) and booming startup fundings, two big players in the industry, NVIDIA and Bosch, are partnering to develop an AI self-driving car supercomputer.

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Posted on 03/16/17

Intel to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion

Intel announced plans to acquire Israel-based Mobileye, a developer of vision technology used in autonomous driving applications, for $15.3 billion. Mobileye share prices jumped from $47 to $61 (the tender offering price is $63.54) on the news, a 30% premium. The purchase marks the largest acquisition of an Israeli hi-tech company ever.

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Posted on 03/13/17

Robotic science may (or may not) help us keep up with the death of bees

In 2006, beekeepers became aware that honeybee populations were dying off at increasingly rapid rates. Scientists are also concerned about the dwindling populations of monarch butterflies. Researchers have been scrambling to come up with explanations and an effective strategy to save both insects or replicate their pollination functions in agriculture.

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Posted on 03/09/17

February 2017 fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

February fundings for 16 robotics-related startups totaled over $313 million - another solid month for the new year. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with Ford's acquisition of Argo and Midea Group's purchase of Servotronix. Plus there were two IPOs.

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Posted on 03/01/17

2016 funding and acquisitions updates

Although the original articles (2016 was best year ever for funding robotics startup companies) and (Over $19 billion paid to acquire 50 robotic companies) have been updated to reflect the omissions of 2016 fundings and acquisitions, listed below is a recap of those updated transactions:

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Posted on 02/27/17

Have you written any recent reports about stocks in the robotics industry?

I am often asked this question because I used to research and write 30+ articles about publicly-traded robotics companies each year. In addition to interesting stock activity, I also tabulated and charted the movement of those companies and reported and analyzed the results.

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Posted on 02/15/17

Ford Motor to invest $1 billion in Pittsburgh startup Argo AI

Argo AI, a Pittsburgh startup, has sold a majority share of their company to Ford Motor Co. which has agreed to invest $1 billion over a five year schedule but will immediately become the majority shareholder. Both companies declined to disclose further details.

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Posted on 02/12/17

Robotic cleaning market growing exponentially

The International Federation of Robotics forecast that unit shipments for the global market for vacuum cleaning robots, lawn-mowing robots and other household cleaning robots will grow at a CAGR of 33% through 2019. Other research reports say revenue for the market will reach $2.5 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 15%.

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Posted on 02/10/17

Fight devasting ignorance with a fact-based understandable world-view

Hans Rosling, a Swedish medical doctor who worked in public health in Africa for many years and then for the U.N. developing and presenting world health statistics, died at 68 from cancer.

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Posted on 02/09/17

Lady Gaga, 300 Intel drones, and the Super Bowl

Three hundred drones flashed their colored lights and created a flying American flag as Lady Gaga sang a blend of "God Bless America” and "This Land Is Your Land" to 160 million viewers of the Super Bowl. Oh... and two football teams played into overtime and the final score was 34 to 28.

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Posted on 02/06/17

January 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

January fundings for robotics-related startups totaled over $123 million - a reasonable start for the new year. 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 02/01/17

Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what TO do

Business maturity is what startups often need when they ask for an 'adult' to come and manage their company. That was certainly the case with Danish startup Universal Robots as they sought funds and a new CEO in 2008.

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Posted on 01/29/17

CBS News shows how using robots created 140 jobs

By investing $6 million in robots, Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) was able to take back 10% of their manufacturing from China and place it into a new factory in Manning, South Carolina employing 140 new workers.

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Posted on 01/24/17

$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

Over $19 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

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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