Sunday, April 23, 2017

Trip Planning: 35 remaining 2017 robotics-related events

Whether for research, purchasing, education or in conjuncation with a family vacation, going to and attending robotics-related conferences and trade shows can provide real personal and business benefits, particularly when the venue is in a foreign location. Here are the 35 remaining events for 2017:

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Posted on 04/21/17

The changing landscape of mobility as seen at Automate and ProMat

America's retailers are closing stores faster than ever while demand for warehouse workers by online retailers is higher than ever. Retailers and logistics companies have been opening facilities at a record pace and in this fast-paced world, warehousing and logistics managers are looking for robotics solutions to remain competitive.

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Posted on 04/17/17

Smart grasping demonstrated at Automate and ProMat trade shows

Tactile sensing and force feedback are - and have been - problem areas for robot grasping. Humans could see, select and pick so much faster. Yet to handle the millions of different everyday items in our factories and warehouses, costly positioning and camera systems have been required. These systems made it easy for fast robots with simple grippers to pick items as they came along - but at great cost.

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Posted on 04/16/17

Collaborative robotics at the Automate and ProMat trade shows

Six to ten years ago, exhibitors at Automate were promoting bin-picking in many, many booths. Bin picking wasn't mentioned this year because it is an available option these days. For the last six years vendors have been promoting human-robot collaboration in manufacturing. Here's what I saw this year at the big Automate and ProMat trade shows held last month in Chicago.

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Posted on 04/16/17

CBS News outlines jobs and robotics debate; IFR fills in gaps

CBS News, and reporter David Pogue, displayed some new technologies threatening jobs while the International Federation of Robotics suggested that deploying robots actually increases jobs. Are either true? Or both?

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Posted on 04/10/17

Billion $ acquisitions continue: ABB acquires B&R

ABB, one of the Big Four global robot makers, has acquired Austrian industrial automation integrator and components manufacturer B&R (Bernecker & Rainer) Automation for an undisclosed amount but estimated to be "close to $2 billion." The purchase is being funded from ABB's own cash and is expected to close by mid-year.

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Posted on 04/04/17

Vertical farms profiled on CBS Morning News

CBS News profiled a New Jersey vertical farm providing baby kale, arugula, spinach and romaine to nearby Newark and NYC groceries. They boast 130 times more productivity, 95% less water and no pesticides versus field farms. And they harvest 24 times a year, rain, snow or shine.

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Posted on 04/03/17

Invest in robots to really help workers

America’s manufacturing heyday is gone, and so are millions of jobs, lost to modernization. A new report from PwC estimates that 38% of American jobs are at “high risk” of being replaced by technology within the next 15 years. How soon automation will replace workers is not the real problem. The real threat to American jobs will come if China does it first.

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Posted on 04/03/17

March 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

March 2017 had 29 robotics-related startups saw funding totaling over $222 million - another solid month for 2017 and $658 million year-to-date. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with Intel's eye-popping $15 billion acquisition of Israeli Mobileye. Plus there were three IPOs.

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Posted on 04/02/17

42 companies empowering robots and humans to work side-by-side

There is growing demand for more flexibility in factories and shops. Collaborative robotics, a sub-set of service robotics in labs, manufacturing and material handling, is where the action is today because co-bots are meeting these new demands, while caged legacy robots are not.

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Posted on 03/30/17

Each picking April 3-6 at the Automate and ProMat trade shows in Chicago

It's only a few days until April 3 when the ProMat and Automate shows begin at McCormick Place in Chicago. ProMat is an expo for material handling and logistics equipment and technologies and Automate showcases robotics and automation technologies and solutions for manufacturing.

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Posted on 03/28/17

Baidu loses A.I. star Andrew Ng

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.

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Posted on 03/22/17

Robot stars in UK play

In a poignant play traveling throughout the UK on tour, a robot is the co-star as companion to the wife of the robot builder, a woman who is developing Alzheimer's.

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Posted on 03/20/17

Bosch and Nvidia partner to develop AI for self-driving cars

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.

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Posted on 03/16/17

Intel to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion

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.

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Posted on 03/13/17

Robotic science may (or may not) help us keep up with the death of bees

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.

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Posted on 03/09/17

February 2017 fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

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.

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Posted on 03/01/17

2016 funding and acquisitions updates

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:

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Posted on 02/27/17

Have you written any recent reports about stocks in the robotics industry?

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.

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Posted on 02/15/17

Ford Motor to invest $1 billion in Pittsburgh startup Argo AI

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.

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Posted on 02/12/17

Robotic cleaning market growing exponentially

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%.

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Posted on 02/10/17

Fight devasting ignorance with a fact-based understandable world-view

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.

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Posted on 02/09/17

Lady Gaga, 300 Intel drones, and the Super Bowl

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.

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Posted on 02/06/17

January 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

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.

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Posted on 02/01/17

Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what TO do

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.

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Posted on 01/29/17

CBS News shows how using robots created 140 jobs

By investing $6 million in robots, Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) was able to take back 10% of their manufacturing from China and place it into a new factory in Manning, South Carolina employing 140 new workers.

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Posted on 01/24/17

$250 million awarded to new Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Innovation Hub

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.

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Posted on 01/17/17

Travel Planning: 2017 Robotics Events Calendar

2017 offers a variety of informative robotic events. Some take extra time to get visas, tickets and coordinate with friends and associates. Here are the main upcoming robotics-related events:

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Posted on 01/16/17

Parrot struggling, Lily fails and Google closes Titan Project as drone industry disunites

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.

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Posted on 01/12/17

Rethink Robotics raises another $18 million

Rethink Robotics, the Boston-based maker of the Baxter and Sawyer robots founded by iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks, raised an additional $18 million in an unfinished $33 million Series E round led by private equity firm Adveq.

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Posted on 01/12/17

21 research reports forecast double-digit growth for robotics

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.

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Posted on 01/09/17

Over $19 billion paid to acquire 50 robotics companies in 2016

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!

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Posted on 01/05/17

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2016 best year ever for funding robotics startup companies

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.

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Posted on 01/02/17