Sunday, April 23, 2017

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Trip Planning: 35 remaining 2017 robotics-related events

Posted on 04/21/17 by Frank Tobe

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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The changing landscape of mobility as seen at Automate and ProMat

Posted on 04/17/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Smart grasping demonstrated at Automate and ProMat trade shows

Posted on 04/16/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Collaborative robotics at the Automate and ProMat trade shows

Posted on 04/16/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 04/10/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Billion $ acquisitions continue: ABB acquires B&R

Posted on 04/04/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Vertical farms profiled on CBS Morning News

Posted on 04/03/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Invest in robots to really help workers

Posted on 04/03/17 by Frank Tobe

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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March 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Posted on 04/02/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 03/30/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 03/28/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Baidu loses A.I. star Andrew Ng

Posted on 03/22/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Robot stars in UK play

Posted on 03/20/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 03/16/17 by Frank Tobe

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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Intel to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion

Posted on 03/13/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 03/09/17 by Frank Tobe

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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February 2017 fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Posted on 03/01/17 by Frank Tobe

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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2016 funding and acquisitions updates

Posted on 02/27/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 02/15/17 by Frank Tobe

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

Posted on 02/12/17 by Frank Tobe

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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