Agility Robotics, maker of the Cassie bipedal robot, raised $8 million in Series A funding to continue its development of legged robots. Playground Global led the round, with participation from Sony Innovation Fund and existing investor Robotics Hub.
Bruce Leak, a founder of Playground Global, will join Agility’s board of directors. Agility has now raised a total of $8.792 million in funding.
Agility Robotics co-founder and CEO Damion Shelton will deliver a keynote at our Robotics Summit and Showcase, taking place May 23-24 in Boston. The Robotic Summit will help robotics developers overcome some of the issues involved with designing, developing, and manufacturing robots. Register today and take advantage of a 20 percent early bird discount.
Shelton’s keynote, “Bipedal Locomotion and Autonomous Mobility,” will describe the advantages of bipedal locomotion for autonomous mobility in unstructured, human-populated environments. Use cases for bipedal robots, as well as specific design, development and testing requirements for bipedal robots, will be discussed. Shelton will also provide an update on the latest developments with Cassie.
Agility Robotic’s legged locomotion expertise is built on years of academic research, including the bipedal robot ATRIAS that was developed at the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory at Oregon State University. Cassie is the byproduct of this research, and it captures the same fundamental principles underlying legged locomotion in animals.
“When we met [co-founder and CTO Jonathan Hurst] and the Agility team, we were incredibly impressed by the team’s technical talent and execution to date,” said Leak. “They’ve dedicated over a decade of research in legged locomotion to design a novel architecture that leverages passive dynamics and active force control to build a biologically-inspired, underactuated robot. Their unique design choices let them achieve superior energy efficiency compared to state-of-the-art conventional bipedal systems, which opens up a lot of applications when you’re less constrained by power.”
As a mobility company, Agility Robotics will work to address a variety of vertical markets that can be impacted by bipedal robots, implementing market-specific configurations for size, scale, number of legs, sensing, manipulation, and other engineering choices. Agility Robotics said walking robots will one day be a common sight, much like the automobile, and with similar impact on society.
“Sony Innovation Fund is excited to invest in Agility Robotics to develop its radically innovative approach to bipedal robot locomotion,” said Toshimoto Mitomo, Corporate Executive of Sony Corporation. “As Agility works towards commercializing its technologies, we look forward to them making meaningful contributions to the technology and applications for mobile robots in everyday environments.”
“My research group is creating the mathematics of highly dynamic bipedal gaits,” said Professor Jessy Grizzle, director of the University of Michigan Robotics Institute. “We bought a Cassie robot because it has the high-performance capabilities we need to stress test our feedback control algorithms and to inspire new research directions.
“There are no other bipedal robots on the market with its level of dynamic capability and when you add in its physical toughness, the Cassie robot is truly in a class of its own. The algorithms we are testing on our Cassie robot is allowing us to also make great progress on controlling an exoskeleton for persons with paraplegia. I am very excited that Agility is growing fast; I think they are going to have a huge impact on the world, enabling robotic mobility in human environments.”