Ex-Willow Garage and Unbounded Robotics veterans get $3 million to bring mobile manipulator and mobile platform to market.
Funding came from O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Shasta Ventures. Melonee Wise was named CEO. Fetch Robotics is the new name for FYS Systems. FYS stood for Fetch Your Stuff. The new name, Fetch Robotics, seems more appropriate for a materials handling logistics market line of products initially focused on distribution centers.
Things are moving fast at Fetch. They've announced that the first robots will be introduced in the second quarter of this year and are searching to hire up to 10 positions in addition to their present 10-member team. They will launch a research edition of the robot first and probably show it at ICRA in May in Seattle.
Fetch will use the Series A funding to bring its inaugural robots to market by the middle of this year and begin pilot programs with customers. Ms. Wise said Fetch had lined up “a couple” of companies as customers, but declined to identify them other than to say they are similar to Alibaba and Amazon insofar as they would be using the robots to speed delivery fulfillment in warehouses.
CEO Wise said to IEEE/Spectrum, regarding what their first product or products will be:
“One is a mobile manipulator and one is a mobile base, and they'll work together. We're targeting the logistics market, looking to do order fulfillment with robots.”
No pictures are available of the platform or the robot; the software however, will utilize and be built upon ROS.
Evan Ackerman said it best when he wrote:
There was a lot of interest in Unbounded and the UBR-1, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of interest in what Fetch is working on. It’s not often that companies get second chances like this, and I’m certain that the Unbounded core team (and the rest of the roboticists at Fetch) are looking forward to proving that they can deliver the next generation of mobile manipulators.
As advances in actuators, processors and machine vision enable robots to be mobile and do more, and do it safely alongside humans, many companies are working on and beginning to offer mobile manipulator robots. We wish Fetch well in their new venture.