Friday, March 24, 2017

2016 Archives

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December fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Posted on 12/30/16 by Frank Tobe

Ten robotics-related companies got funded in December for a combined total of $94 million; down from $225 million in November. Four more got acquired. Over $2 billion was involved. No companies went public.

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Views and forecasts about robotics for the ag industry

Posted on 12/27/16 by Frank Tobe

At RoboUniverse in San Diego in December, agricultural robots and the labor shortage were quickly identified as the biggest issues facing the industry today. Water scarcity and field health were other key issues mentioned, but it’s labor that keeps farmers up at night and robotics that could come to their rescue.

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Jibo look-alike appears on Chinese websites

Posted on 12/22/16 by Frank Tobe

For all of us who participated in the Jibo IndieGoGo crowdfunding and are anxiously awaiting delivery - which has been delayed again - this Chinese knock-off came as quite a surprise.

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KUKA AERO sold to comply with US objections of sale to Chinese Midea

Posted on 12/21/16 by Frank Tobe

Advanced Integration Technology (AIT) will acquire KUKA Systems Aerospace North America (KUKA Aero), in a carve-out transaction to comply with U.S. regulators who objected to KUKA's sale to Chinese consumer products manufacturer Midea.

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Big year for acquisitions: Latest is Teledyne Technologies acquiring E2V Technologies

Posted on 12/13/16 by Frank Tobe

It's been a big year for acquisitions of companies involved in robotics and automation: 48 have sold thus far in 2016. Eight involved amounts over $500 million and five were over a billion; KUKA's acquisition by Chinese consumer products giant Midea was the biggest at $5.11 billion.

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Robots may save the global economy

Posted on 12/11/16 by Frank Tobe

A recent article in The Washington Post by Morgan Stanley strategist and author of "The Rise and Fall of Nations" Ruchir Sharma, provides a nuanced overview of the issues of jobs, robots, productivity and income disparity. 

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Liquid Robotics acquired by Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Posted on 12/08/16 by Frank Tobe

In a move consistent with many other recent acquisitions of stars within the robotics industry, Liquid Robotics announced that they sold their company to Boeing's Autonomous Systems for Defense, Space & Security division.

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Beijing World Robot Conference drew big crowds and notable speakers

Posted on 12/06/16 by Frank Tobe

The Beijing World Robot Conference (WRC), sponsored by Beijing City, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the China Association of Science and Technology, was held October 21-25. It was big, long, ran over a weekend, and gave a run-down of the breath of China's fast-emerging robotics industry.

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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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