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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.