Listen to this article
Robotics startup Ascento recently announced a $4.3 million funding round and the launch of its latest autonomous outdoor security patrolling robot: Ascento Guard.
The pre-seed funding round was led by Wingman Ventures and Playfair with participation from marquee investors including Tim Kentley-Klay (Founder of Zoox that exited to Amazon), robotics industry veteran Ryan Gariepy (CTO & Co-Founder of Clearpath Robotics and OTTO Motors), Daniel Kottlarz (Founder of MYBOTSHOP, largest robotics research reseller in Europe) and Tobias Redlin (Founder of IGO3D, largest desktop 3D printer distributor in Europe), including non-dilutive funding from the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse and the European Space Agency incubator ESA BIC.
Unique wheel-leg design
These autonomous robots are designed to navigate any outdoor terrain with agility and stability of their legs. They are already being deployed on large industrial sites and have covered over 3000 km for outdoor security since early this year. Ascento customers include large outdoor warehouses, industrial manufacturing, and pharma campuses, among others.
Today, the startup has launched its latest autonomous outdoor security patrolling robot called Ascento Guard. It can detect bad actors or unwanted people on the premises, verify perimeter integrity, check that doors and windows are closed, record property lights, identify floods and fires, and control parking lots. They can move at a walking speed of 1389 m/sec (3.1 mph) and come with autonomous charging such that the system can be continuously in operation without human intervention.
The Ascento Guard can be installed and deployed within a few hours, allowing companies to save from day 1 and adapt fast to their current security needs. The Ascento Guard can be hired by the hour, just like a human guard, and it includes deployment, 24/7 support, service, and repairs. The Ascento App analyses video and images with AI and integrates them with existing video management systems, provides end-to-end encrypted two-way communication, and offers powerful reports that security managers want to see.
Alessandro Morra, co-founder and CEO of Ascento commented: “The new Ascento Guard offers hope and a breath of fresh air for the security industry facing some pressing challenges. By supporting human security personnel with the Ascento Guard, security companies can offer a lean solution through which Ascento does the heavy lifting allowing humans to focus on the unique nuances of the work”.
The global security industry is facing mounting challenges. Labor shortages mean a lack of qualified personnel available to do the work which involves long shifts, during anti-social hours, or in bad weather. To compound matters, there is high staff turnover in the industry, as much as 47% annually.
Alessandro Morra added: “Ascento is targeting the high operating costs the industry is enduring. The traditional approach is to use either people or fixed-installed cameras. We know about the labour challenges and the installation of cameras has a huge outlay that can be complex. The Ascento Guard provides the best of both worlds, with the resilience, reliability, and repeatability of technical solutions whilst being as flexible as human guards.”
Ascento was co-founded by Alessandro Morra (CEO), Miguel de la Iglesia Valls (CTO), Ciro Salzmann, and Dominik Mannhart (Software & Hardware) who combined their experience as security guards together with the robotics technology that they developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) as students.
The company is selling the solution using a robots as a service (RaaS) business model. The team has grown to more than 10 people, with new customers signing up every month. Fleet mileage has grown over 70% month over month since the beginning of 2023. The systems in the field have accumulated over 3000 km (1800 miles).
Chris Smith, Managing Partner at Playfair commented: “Many of the world’s most pressing business challenges cannot be solved by software alone. We see the next decade as providing a huge opportunity for companies building in robotics to solve these challenges. Ascento’s combination of a world-class team, best-in-class technology, and a large global market with significant labor and pricing pressures made this a compelling investment opportunity for us.”
Technical Specs of Ascento
- Autonomous speed: 1389 m/sec (3.1 mph)
- Weight: <30kg (66.1 lbs)
- Size: 50-90cm x 70cm x 50cm (19.7-35.43 in x 27.56 in x 19.69 in)
- Runtime: 4.5 hours
Sensors and I&O
- Thermal camera
- Infrared camera
- Microphone & Speakers
- 4G, Wifi