Sunday, May 28, 2017

2017 Archives

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Christian Slater plays an evil hacker—perfectly!!

Posted on 05/24/17 by Frank Tobe

Here's a video you will want to watch. "The Wolf" is really an ad showing how a hacker can enter a network through an unprotected printer (or robot). Christian Slater stars as the evil hacker. 

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Transportation as a service (TaaS): a look ahead

Posted on 05/14/17 by Frank Tobe

SoftBank just invested $5 billion in Didi Chuxing, China's biggest ride-sharing service. Last year Uber sold their China business to Didi resolving (by giving up) all the legal and antitrust investigations it was undergoing in China. In other news, Chris Urmson, long time CTO of Google's self-driving car program, left to start a new company; and Waymo and Lyft just partnered to develop autonomous vehicle tech projects and products. 

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SoftBank invests $5 billion into Didi Chuxing and $4 billion more in Nvidia

Posted on 05/14/17 by Frank Tobe

SoftBank, the giant telecom company, is venturing out into the world of robotics and transportation services. DealStreet Asia said that SoftBank is trying to transform itself into the 'Berkshire Hathaway of the tech industry' with the recent launch of a $100 billion technology fund.

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What’s slowing the use of robots in the ag industry?

Posted on 05/10/17 by Frank Tobe

Why are so many farm equipment manufacturers so heavily involved in the ag industry yet things are going so slowly in relation to robotics? Perhaps farmers need to first incorporate the digital era -- and the concepts and practices of precision agriculture -- before taking the next step toward the use of robots.

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Think Amazon is leading in drone delivery? Think again!

Posted on 05/03/17 by Muyuan Li

In a 2013 interview of Amazon's Jeff Bezos by CBS' Charlie Rose, Bezos launched drone delivery by e-commerce companies by announcing the new Amazon Prime Air - and demonstrating a delivery system designed to get packages to customers by drone.

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24 research reports dissect the robotics industry

Posted on 05/01/17 by Frank Tobe

After reading the press releases for this batch of 24 research reports, although they vary widely in their forecasts, they almost all agree that most segments of the robotics industry are expected to grow at a double digit pace at least through 2022.

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April 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

Posted on 05/01/17 by Frank Tobe

April 2017 had 17 robotics-related companies get funding totaling over $390 million - a fourth solid month for 2017 - $1.05 billion year-to-date. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with ABB's $2 billion acquisition of Bernecker & Rainer, plus Baidu, iRobot and Cognex each making strategic acquistions.

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iRobot, KUKA and other robotic stocks exceed earnings expectations

Posted on 05/01/17 by Frank Tobe

iRobot (IRBT on the NASDAQ stock exchange) jumped from $70 to $80 per share on news that iRobot's quarterly earnings were so good that the company raised their forecast for 2017 to new highs. KUKA also had good Q1/17 earnings as did Intuitive Surgical.

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As DJI dominates camera and commercial drone sales, drone funding falls

Posted on 04/28/17 by Frank Tobe

According to AgFunder's 2016 AgTech Investing Report (supported by The Robot Report's own research), 2016 drone funding fell 64% from 2015 levels. Also, the types of UAS companies that got funded weren't drone makers.

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Podcasts are the new blogs

Posted on 04/25/17 by Frank Tobe

Most of us are familiar with the podcasts about robotics from the Swiss-based Robots group. For different perspectives, from the funder's point of view, here's a list of podcasts from the VC's that fund robotics and technology ventures -- funders like Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Greylock Partners and Y Combinator.

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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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