Saturday, August 27, 2016


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Two LiDAR makers each get big funding

Posted on 08/25/16 by Frank Tobe

In anticipation of the need for LiDAR devices in cars with assisted steering and other self-driving technologies, both Velodyne and Quarnergy received funding. Quanergy raised $90 million and Velodyne got $150 million.

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News bureaus and networks setting up drone divisions

Posted on 08/20/16 by Frank Tobe

CNN just inaugurated their new drone division. So have many other news organizations. Network providers are also setting up drone operations for a variety of purposes.

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As Ford sets a date, Jibo retracts theirs

Posted on 08/17/16 by Frank Tobe

Bringing a complex product to market is an intensive process fraught with problems. Getting hardware ready for manufacturing is often the easy part; it's the software and regulatory compliance that's often the most challenging. Here are three examples: Ford Motor Co., Velodyne LiDAR and Jibo.

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Midea’s masterplan to become China’s robot powerhouse

Posted on 08/17/16 by Frank Tobe

Chinese consumer manufacturer Midea, after having spent over $4 billion to acquire 94% of German robot maker Kuka, is planning to spend an additional $1.5 billion to turn itself into China's preeminent robot powerhouse. 

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IDC awards 5 warehouse robotics innovators

Posted on 08/16/16 by Frank Tobe

International Data Corporation (IDC) has awarded five pioneering players in the warehouse robotics market with the 2016 IDC Innovators Award. Companies selected met the following criteria: revenue of less than $50 million with an innovative technology, or a groundbreaking new business model, or both.

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What happens when a robot company sells off a division?

Posted on 08/10/16 by Frank Tobe

Spin-offs are disrupting but often necessary. Here are two recent examples: iRobot sold off its Defense & Security Business Unit to a private equity firm, and Harvest Automation sold the IP and work in process of its warehousing robot group to a new venture-backed startup.

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As Intuitive Surgical continues to shine, competitors are entering the fray

Posted on 08/04/16 by Frank Tobe

Robotic surgery has long been dominated by Intuitive Surgical which has placed more than 3,600 of its da Vinci machines in hospitals around the world. Nevertheless, an increasing number of new players are entering the marketplace.

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July fundings, acquisitions and failures

Posted on 08/02/16 by Frank Tobe

Despite all the high-profile billion-dollar acquisitions, eg: ARM by SoftBank, KUKA by Midea and Uber China by Didi Chuxing, M&A are down 19% this year according to both Forbes and CB Insights. 

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Singapore to begin testing on-demand robot taxis

Posted on 08/01/16 by Frank Tobe

Delphi Automotive, the global provider of vehicle electronics components, will begin testing 6 phone-dispatched autonomous taxis in Singapore that will go point-to-point based on customer requests with a goal of providing no-driver-in-the-car service by 2019 and cars without steering wheels by 2022.

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Swiss startup makes good on Broadway

Posted on 07/29/16 by Frank Tobe

Flying robots perform 100th show on Broadway, using new localization technology and algorithms designed and created by Verity Studios of Zurich in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil for their new show PARAMOUR.

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AUTOMATICA 2016: digitalization and collaborative robotics

Posted on 07/24/16 by Frank Tobe

AUTOMATICA 2016, held in June in Munich at the massive Messe tradefair facility, is a gigantic show focused on automation, mechatronics, robotics and emerging technologies as they relate to the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

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Midea now owns 85.69% of KUKA’s shares

Posted on 07/20/16 by Frank Tobe

Since the announcement of the month-long tender offer by Midea to buy 49% of the shares of German robot maker KUKA AG - and private negotiations - Midea now has 85.69% of the shares.

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SoftBank jumpstarts IoT by buying ARM for $32 billion

Posted on 07/18/16 by Frank Tobe

Today's announcement that SoftBank will spend $32 billion to acquire ARM Holdings means the Japanese firm is buying the most important company in the world of mobile processors for smartphones and Internet of Things devices.

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“Deep learning is the most fundamental advance in AI research since AI started in 1956”

Posted on 07/14/16 by Frank Tobe

Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital and private equity firm, said, "It is absolutely non-controversial that deep learning is the most fundamental advance in A.I. research since the start [of A.I.] in 1956."

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Coming very soon: robots from Sony, robot-made hamburgers, mobile robot deliveries

Posted on 07/11/16 by Frank Tobe

Re-joining the ranks, Sony announced a return to robotics. Momentum is opening a robot hamburger shop. And Starship is beginning to delivery food to 3 cities in Europe.

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62 market research reports study robotics industry

Posted on 07/10/16 by Frank Tobe

The number of research reports studying the robotics industry is growing exponentially. To date in 2016 there have been 109 on subjects ranging from overly broad to very drilled-down views of the industry. Prices range from $800 to $6,500.

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Logistic companies Swisslog, Dematic, Egemin and Intelligrated have all been acquired

Posted on 07/03/16 by Frank Tobe

First the KION Group acquires Dematic for $2.5 billion and a week later Honeywell acquires Intelligrated for $1.5 billion. Earlier KION acquired Retrotech and earlier still Egemin while Kuka acquired Swisslog. What's going on?

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June fundings, acquisitions and failures

Posted on 06/30/16 by Frank Tobe

Six months worth of funding deals thus far in 2016 indicate that investments in robotics - equity fundings, and acquisitions - are accelerating, particularly in big deals involving Chinese money.

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What’s happening in robotics? Five trends to watch

Posted on 06/27/16 by Frank Tobe

Industrial robots used to be dumb, somewhat inflexible, and mostly blind - but also fast, precise and very efficient.  As the cost of components, sensors and vision systems has been dropping, vision-enabled robots are becoming more prevalent and capable, and the industry is dramatically changing.

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4,000 student clubs to use Dash and Dot robots in global contest

Posted on 06/26/16 by Frank Tobe

Wonder Workshop is finding success in teaching computer programming to young students through collaboration and with the use of Dash & Dot robots. 4,000+ student groups have registered for this year's Wonder League Robotics Competition, up from 1,000 in 2015.

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