Sarcos Robotics secured $30 million in Series B funding. The funding will help scale production and deployment of its Guardian S inspection and surveillance robot and prepare for the launch of its Guardian XO powered industrial exoskeleton in late 2019.
The Series B funding was co-led by DIG Investment and Alex. Brown & Sons. Each of the Series A investors also participated in the Series B, including Caterpillar Ventures, Cottonwood Technology Fund, GE Ventures, Microsoft, Schlumberger and Sarcos’ chairman and CEO, Ben Wolff.
Salt Lake City-based Sarcos was spun out of Raytheon in 2015 and has raised about $56 million to date. It raised $10.5 million in September 2016 and another $15.6 million in January 2017.
“Sarcos is growing rapidly – we’ve doubled our workforce in the last year as we realize our vision of delivering robotic systems that simultaneously reduce the risk of workplace injuries, while also increasing productivity and efficiency,” said Wolff. “This new funding will allow us to continue to grow our team, scale our production and deliver our unrivaled products to customers around the globe to address the unmet global demand for robotic systems that create the safest, most productive workforce possible.”
Sarcos Guardian XO exoskeleton
ABI Research recently found the total addressable market for commercial/industrial exoskeletons exceeds 2.6 million units. Sarcos’ Guardian XO exoskeleton is designed to augment human productivity and strength, while preventing workplace injuries. The Guardian XO exoskeleton can lift 200 lbs (90 Kg) repeatedly without exertion.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistic, back injuries are the second most common reason for non-attendance at work; the common cold is the most popular reason. That study found that the economic impact of on-the-job back injuries exceeds $100 billion per year annually; the average cost of back injury-related workers’ compensation claims falls between $40,000-$80,000 per incident.
The goal of the Sarcos XO exoskeleton, and other industrial exoskeletons, is to help reduce the number of work-related injuries. Of course, they won’t completely eliminate workplace back injuries, but they could help many workers live a healthier life, increase their productivity and extend their careers. Employers, on the other hand, could benefit from increased employee productivity and reduced injury rates.
Guardian S inspection robot
The Guardian S is Sarcos’ remote-controlled, ground-based surveillance and inspection robot that can traverse challenging terrain. According to a blog from GE, the Guardian S costs $70,000. It offers 3D mapping, live video feed, two-way communications and can transfer data in real time. Weighing 16 pounds with the ability to carry a-10 pound payload, the Guardian S is outfitted with a 360° camera that can stream videonup to 12 hours straight.
The Guardian S has been designed for wide applicability in industries including manufacturing, construction, mining, oil & gas, power, aerospace, maritime, petrochemical, mining, defense and public safety.
Here’s more from GE about how it’s using the Guardian S in various pilot programs:
“This spring, a $70,000 Sarcos robot that GE purchased was field-tested at GE Aviation’s factories in Gloucester and Hamble in the U.K. Eventually, the goal is to have one robot at each site where it can perform regular weekly or monthly maintenance tasks, and more robots that rotate between sites to perform less frequent checkups.”
“The first step in bringing in robots is to train operators, who can learn to control the robot with a few hours’ training. Then the worker is ready to use a handheld device to guide the metallic snake into inaccessible, unstable, or otherwise hazardous places.”
“Wind turbines, for instance, need to be checked for corrosion, rust, and metal fatigue. A snake-like robot that can use magnets to ascend the turbine’s stem and sense the thickness of the metal walls can save a human worker from having to climb up.”
“Put the person in a safe environment, send the robot into a hazardous environment, keep the human as the decision-maker,” says Sam Murley, who runs “digital acceleration” for the environment, health and safety portfolio across GE. The robots are also potentially better than humans at identifying problems they find, he says.”