In this Robot Investments Weekly, we look at the latest transactions and investments around self-driving cars, industrial automation, and manufacturing of consumer goods.
Robot Investments Weekly recaps the past week’s transactions across the global robotics industry. For more information, Robotics Business Review subscribers can access our Transactions Database to stay up to date on the key mergers and acquisitions, investments, public offerings, and government funding developments. Search, sort, and print by transaction type, date, or industry.
At press time, the first week of 2018 was pretty quite on the investment front, just like the last week of 2017.
AImotive raises $38 million for camera-based autonomous driving system
AImotive closed its $38 million Series C funding round that was led by B Capital Group and Prime Ventures. AImotive uses off-the-shelf cameras and AI vision processing for its self-driving system. This is a lower-cost approach to autonomous vehicles than the industry standard LiDAR approach, which until recently was far too expensive to be scalable.
AImotive’s solution is designed for automotive OEMs, mobility service providers and other mobility players. The company is already working with established automotive players, including Groupe PSA, SAIC, and Volvo. After receiving autonomous testing licenses on public roads for multiple locations, the company started testing its car fleet in Hungary, France, and California in summer 2017. It has plans to further expand testing to automotive hubs in Japan, China, and other US states this year.
AImotive will showcase its latest technology at CES 2018 in booth 3131 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Rubikloud raises $37 million for retail AI & IoT
Rubikloud raised $37 million in a Series B round led by Intel Capital, with new investors iNovia Capital and OTEAF participating. This brings the company’s total investment raised to date to $45 million. Existing investors Horizons Ventures and Access Industries also participated in the round.
Retailers are turning to technology more and more to disrupt legacy processes in an attempt to compete with Amazon and other giants. Rubikloud has a series of machine-learning tools that migrate data from retailers’ legacy systems onto the cloud, allowing them to automate decision-making on promotions across stores, loyalty marketing, and mass promotional planning.
“The first three levels of retail that AI will impact and transform will be the supply chain, corporate head office, and front of store,” said Stacey Shulman, chief innovation officer in the Retail Solutions Division at Intel Corporation. “Combining Intel’s focus on retail, IoT and in-store devices with Rubikloud’s intelligent decision automation will further position the two companies to continue as retail AI leaders.”
JR Automation acquires automation systems group of Doerfer Corp.
Integrator JR Automation acquired the automation systems group of Doerfer Corp. The group includes Advanced Automation, Wright Industries, FSA Systemes D’Assemblage, FSA Romania, PSB Technologies and equity interests in Beijing BYJC-Fabricom Assembly Line Co., Ltd. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“In addition to increasing our presence in North America, this acquisition will extend JR’s footprint into Europe and Asia, further diversifying the end-markets and geographies we serve,” said JR Automation Chairman and CEO Mike DuBose. “Combining our operations, customer relationships, and complementary areas of expertise will further establish us as a global leader in industrial automation and robotics systems integration.”
JENSEN-GROUP acquires 30% stake in Inwatec ApS
The JENSEN-GROUP will acquire a participation of 30% in Inwatec ApS, a Danish company that manufactures high-end heavy-duty laundry products. This investment in laundry robotics and AI confirms the group’s vision to automate all processes in the laundry. Inwatec spans a bridge between JENSEN’s current offering in laundry solutions and Industry 4.0.
Complete automation systems for laundries processing mats range from the sorting area to the packaging and storage area. Also the robot, based on 3D camera technology, separating garments and small items at high speed is a great complement for JENSEN’s current offering to laundries handling garments.
First Republic Investment Management Inc. has $6.50 million stake in ABB Ltd
First Republic Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of ABB Ltd by 1.8% in the third quarter. The fund owned 262,738 shares of ABB’s stock after buying an additional 4,629 shares during the period. First Republic Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in ABB were worth $6,503,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.