Monday, December 5, 2016

News Archive

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Self-driving cars, networks, and the companies and people that are stimulating development

Posted on 12/02/16 by Frank Tobe

Intel is establishing an autonomous driving division; hacker George Hotz is open-sourcing his self-driving software in a bid to become a network company; LiDAR and distancing devices are changing. What's it all mean?

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November fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Posted on 12/01/16 by Frank Tobe

Seventeen robotics-related companies got funded for a combined total of over $225 million. Four more got acquired. Three went public to raise funds. And one failed.

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Rising need for nursery, indoor and vertical farming

Posted on 11/26/16 by Frank Tobe

To meet rising food demands from a growing global population, over 250 million acres of arable land will be needed – about 20% more land than all of Brazil.

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Let’s hope Trump does what he says regarding robots and robotics

Posted on 11/23/16 by Frank Tobe

In President-elect Trump's interview with the NY Times yesterday, when discussing jobs, closed factories and factories that may leave the country, he was asked: "Are you worried that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?

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US auto industry installed 135,000 robots AND added 230,000 jobs

Posted on 11/23/16 by Frank Tobe

In the last six years, (2010–2015), according to the IFR (International Federation of Robotics), US industry has installed around 135,000 new industrial robots. The principal driver is automation in the car industry. During this same period, (2010–2015), the number of employees in the automotive sector increased by 230,000.

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Two robotic stock IPOs coming to market

Posted on 11/21/16 by Frank Tobe

For the last many years there have been very few stock IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). Promising companies have been acquired instead, eg: Kiva Systems and Universal Robots. But two robotics-related companies have recently filed: one for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the other for the New York Stock Exchange.

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Some social robots are selling well; others are stalled or failing

Posted on 11/16/16 by Frank Tobe

Amazon's Echo sales have exceeded 4 million and they are ramping up to sell 10 million in 2017; Google's Home has received positive reviews and have just begun selling in large numbers; but SoftBank's Pepper and Cynthia Breazeal's Jibo have either failed or are stalled. Why?

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Lofty goals crash land while B2B drones prosper

Posted on 11/15/16 by Frank Tobe

Key executives leaving (or were requested to leave) Goggle's drone delivery Project Wing; GoPro recalls all of its newly launched Karma drones and doesn't offer a replacement; DJI slashes prices. What's going on?

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Digital farms are already a reality

Posted on 11/07/16 by Frank Tobe

Farmers, ranchers and growers the world over are transitioning to precision agricultural methods, i.e., subdividing their acreage into many unique sub-plots -- in some cases right down to the individual plant, tree, or animal.

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Zoox raises $50 million for their stealthy Silicon Valley venture

Posted on 11/07/16 by Frank Tobe

Zoox, the secretive Silicon Valley startup working to build its own self-driving cars, has quietly raised $50 million (in October) in a Series A round led by Composite Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. This brings Zoox's total equity funding to $290 million.

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October fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Posted on 11/01/16 by Frank Tobe

October fundings for robotics-related startups totaled $291.75 million bringing the year-to-date funding figure very close to $1.5 billion. 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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The delicate balance between brilliance, safety and arrogance

Posted on 10/30/16 by Frank Tobe

Silicon Valley and other technology centers have their share of brilliant minds. Some of them have similarly outstanding egos. A few of those have very short fuses. Such is the story of George Hotz.

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The changing landscape of drone funding

Posted on 10/25/16 by Frank Tobe

CB Insights Drone Quarterly Financing Trends to VC-Backed Companies shows a downward trend. The Robot Report's monthly funding reports shows something different: a change in the nature of drone applications getting funded.

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Why DJI is succeeding in making and selling drones and 3DR didn’t

Posted on 10/17/16 by Frank Tobe

It was clear that DJI was winning the drone war by the end of 2015. Today's best sellers are mostly DJI products. Other makers (Parrot, 3D Robotics, Autel, Yuneec et al) haven't been able to capture any significant portion of the camera drone market. Most saw the writing on the wall and began switching to becoming drone service providers in other marketplaces.

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IFR’s two reports for 2015 show double-digit growth for remainder of decade

Posted on 10/15/16 by Frank Tobe

Each year the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) surveys and tabulates data from its worldwide network of robotics associations. The two 2016 annual World Robotics Industrial Robots and World Robotics Service Robots reports represent the IFR's analysis of 2015 results.

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“AI is on the verge of changing everything” said Charlie Rose on CBS 60 Minutes

Posted on 10/14/16 by Frank Tobe

In a quest to understand why and where all the billions of dollars are being spent on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Charlie Rose and the CBS 60 Minutes team took us on a journey to a cancer hospital in North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and the Carnegie Mellon University robotics lab in Pittsburgh.

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Zymergen gets $130 million from SoftBank and other VCs

Posted on 10/11/16 by Frank Tobe

SoftBank, the Japanese telecom conglomerate, led a group that included Iconiq Capital, Prelude Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, and seven others in a $130 million funding round for Zymergen to help the company grow its workforce and scale its operations in Silicon Valley.

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Samsung acquires Viv—it’s a long story

Posted on 10/07/16 by Frank Tobe

Dag Kittlaus was the founder and CEO of Siri, Inc. which produced an app that went into the Apple App Store in February 2010. The app quickly rose to 1st place in the Lifestyle section of the app store. In March, 2010, Steve Jobs called Kittlaus and started the dialogue that ended when Apple acquired Siri at the end of April 2010.

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September fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Posted on 10/04/16 by Frank Tobe

September continued the big-money spree for funding robotic startups. 10 good-sized deals and three little ones. Almost $220 million (bringing the year-to-date total well over $1 billion)! Plus another $2.2 billion paid in September for six acquisitions.

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Review of Commercial UAV Show Asia held in Singapore

Posted on 10/04/16 by Alejandro Alonso-Puig

Alejandro Alonso-Puig, the CTO of Singapore UAS startup Infinium Robotics, visited and spoke at the Commercial UAV Show Asia 2016 held in conjunction with the IoT Show 2016, September 1-2, at the Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore. Puig has given permission to republish his review of the show.

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