What a month it was for robotics. Whether it was Boston Dynamics launching its Spot quadruped robot, Shopify acquiring 6 River Systems or Universal Robots launching its strongest cobot ever, the robotics stories didn’t disappoint in September 2019.
Here are the Top 10 most popular robotics stories on The Robot Report for September 2019. Subscribe to The Robot Report‘s free weekly newsletter to stay updated on the latest analysis and news from the robotics industry.
Since being acquired by SoftBank, Boston Dynamics promised to bring its robots to market. It is doing just that starting with Spot. The quadruped isn’t being sold to the general public, but companies interested in leasing it can fill out a form on Boston Dynamics’ website. Spot can be used to inspect construction and energy sites and conduct remote observations. Full story
The worldwide industrial robotics market reached a record $16.5 billion in sales in 2018, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). The IFR said 422,000 industrial robots were shipped around the world in 2018, a 6% increase from 2017’s previous record. The IFR also for the first time tracked sales of collaborative robots. Full Story
Hanns Tappeiner, who co-founded Anki with Mark Palatucci and Boris Sofman in 2010, was named Director of Product Development at Apple’s Special Projects Group. Apple scooped up other former Anki employees after it closed. Apple attended a makeshift career fair at Anki’s office days after employees found out Anki was closing. Full Story
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have reached new levels of maturity and adoption, but technical and business challenges remain. From mobile manipulation to the need for multi-robot coordination, here are six key takeaways from the RIA’s first Autonomous Mobile Robot Conference that took place in Louisville, Ky. Full Story
6 River Systems Inc., a warehouse automation startup best known for its Chuck autonomous mobile robot, was acquired by Shopify for $450 million. The acquisition “is a critical step to accelerate its growth.” 6 River Systems’ fulfillment software and robotics technology will help increase the speed and efficiency of Shopify’s warehouses. Full Story
Fundamentally, 6 River Systems is a solution provider, not a robotics company. This is a critical distinction, and an important lesson for others in the field of automation. Novelty no longer sells. An automation provider must solve problems. Companies like Shopify are taking notes from Amazon’s playbook. Full Story
Universal Robots added the UR16e cobot to its e-Series that was introduced in 2018. The UR16e features a 16 kg (35 lb.) payload, which is the company’s strongest cobot ever. The UR16e also has a 900 mm reach and ± 0.05 mm repeatability. The UR16e is designed for heavy-duty material handling, heavy-part handling and machine tending. Full Story
Reach Robotics, a Bristol, United Kingdom-based consumer robotics company, shut down. Co-Founder Silas Adekunle said the “consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space – especially for a start-up.” Reach Robotics raised a total of $7.8 million. It launched its MekaMon gaming robots in 2016 that combine augmented reality and a four-legged toy robot. Full Story
Preben Hjornet, who previously founded Blue Workforce A/S, announced the formation of Open Robotica, which plans to help companies develop and adopt industrial automation. Full Story
FarmWise, which is building adaptive robots for agriculture, raised $14.5 million in a Series A round. Farmwise said its robots can cleanly pick weeds from fields, reducing or eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. To date, the robots have efficiently removed weeds from more than 10 million plants, said FarmWise. Full Story
Which of these robotics stories will you remember most? Share your thoughts in the comments.