AUTOMATICA 2016, held in June in Munich at the massive Messe tradefair facility, is a gigantic show focused on automation, mechatronics, robotics and emerging technologies as they relate to the industrial and manufacturing sectors.
Today's announcement that SoftBank will spend $32 billion to acquire ARM Holdings means the Japanese firm is buying the most important company in the world of mobile processors for smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital and private equity firm, said, "It is absolutely non-controversial that deep learning is the most fundamental advance in A.I. research since the start [of A.I.] in 1956."
Re-joining the ranks, Sony announced a return to robotics. Momentum is opening a robot hamburger shop. And Starship is beginning to delivery food to 3 cities in Europe.
The number of research reports studying the robotics industry is growing exponentially. To date in 2016 there have been 109 on subjects ranging from overly broad to very drilled-down views of the industry. Prices range from $800 to $6,500.
First the KION Group acquires Dematic for $2.5 billion and a week later Honeywell acquires Intelligrated for $1.5 billion. Earlier KION acquired Retrotech and earlier still Egemin while Kuka acquired Swisslog. What's going on?
Industrial robots used to be dumb, somewhat inflexible, and mostly blind - but also fast, precise and very efficient. As the cost of components, sensors and vision systems has been dropping, vision-enabled robots are becoming more prevalent and capable, and the industry is dramatically changing.
Wonder Workshop is finding success in teaching computer programming to young students through collaboration and with the use of Dash & Dot robots. 4,000+ student groups have registered for this year's Wonder League Robotics Competition, up from 1,000 in 2015.
Worldwide sales of industrial robots set a new record: 248,000 units sold in 2015, 12% more than 2014. 66,700 units sold in China of which 20,400 were made in China.
The latest acquisition is Gimatic, an Italian pneumatic and electric grippers, sensors and positioners maker, by Agic Capital. The Financial Times reported the sale price to be between $112 and $169 million.
Ex Machina and Lars and the Real Girl are two recent movies that have brought attention to where things are heading between humans and robots - particularly as regards the state of the art in sex robots. The NY Times even did a 7-minute video on the subject.
Xiaomi, one of China’s star Internet, phone and electronics startups, develops cut-rate but reliable phones and consumer devices and markets them directly to consumers online. Their new HD drone starts at $380, and the 4K video model at $450. Both directly compete - at half the price - with DJI's popular Phantom drones.
FANUC, the world’s largest maker of industrial robots, plans to start connecting 400,000 of their installed systems by the end of this year. The goal is to collect data about their operations and, through the use of deep learning, improve performance. Similarly, Kuka is building a deep-learning AI network for their industrial robots.
What is a robot? There are business, legal, insurance and safety considerations which make that definition important and the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington gave it a try with an interesting 6-minute video.
May was another big month for robotics - 13 companies were funded to the tune of $111 million. Four companies were acquired with 2 of the 4 reporting selling prices totaling $422 million. And that’s without the $5.2 billion bid for Kuka by Chinese Midea, or the pending sale of Google's Boston Dynamics.
Over the past two years, research in 5G and robotics PPP projects have received the highest funding awards within Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program.
In China’s relentless state-stimulated quest to grow their robotics industry, Midea Group, a Chinese appliance manufacturer which already owns 13.5% of KUKA’s shares, has offered to buy up to 49% of the remaining shares at a 59.6% premium.
May and June offer two important trade shows and conferences for professional and personal service robotics: Innorobo, held in Paris May 24-26 and AUTOMATICA, held June 21-24 in Munich.
More than 20,000 students from around the globe traveled to St. Louis to compete in the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship. The 4-day event ended Saturday night in front of a crowd of more than 40,000.
April was a big month for investing in robotics - 19 companies were funded to the tune of $175 million vs. $46.4M in January, $18.6M in February and $59.9M in March. Four companies were acquired with 3 of the 4 reporting selling prices totaling $422 million.
Volumes have been written about the possible beneficial (and negative) effects of self-driving cars and systems. But few have studied what industries will be disrupted by the transformations as self-driving devices begin to provide for our transportation needs.
Paslin, a Michigan integrator of welding robots, automation systems, and tooling, was acquired by Wanfeng Technology Group for an undisclosed amount (but reported as $302 million in China Daily).
Auris Surgical Robotics will acquire Hansen Medical for $80M+, PrecisionHawk raised $18M to help bring commercial drones safely into US airspace, and SkySafe got $3M to disable badly behaving drones in the very same airspace.
Most car companies are remaking themselves into tech startups as they move toward offering fully autonomous self-driving vehicles. Yet thousands of tractors already use self-driving kits as do hundreds of tugs, lifts and trucks. Self-driving aftermarket kits are beginning to be offered in multiple markets. What's going on?