Verizon is continuing to expand its role in the robotics industry. Verizon is acquiring incubed IT, an Austria-based startup that develops autonomous navigation and fleet management software for autonomous mobile robots (AMR). Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of the year, were not disclosed.
Founded in 2011, incubed IT’s employees will join the Verizon New Business Incubation team. Verizon said its 5G and edge compute technologies, combined with incubed IT’s software, will enable enterprise customers to gain new efficiencies and scale AMR fleets. incubed IT will continue to drive development, sales and support for its customers and suite of products, which include:
- Smart Shuttle Navigation Toolkit: Transmits near real-time data to AMRs for localization and navigation
- Fleet Management Server: Manages AMR Fleet & Routing Operations
- Data Monitoring & Analytics: Near real-time monitoring and reporting
“Mobile robot orchestration is a real and emerging challenge faced by enterprises today. By integrating incubed IT’s autonomous software with Verizon’s 5G platform, we will have the ability to power robotic automation at scale,” said Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Verizon. “This will create new opportunities for enterprise customers to better and more effectively monitor and optimize their business processes.”
“incubed IT’s next-generation software and autonomous fleet management server are foundational components for the future of terrestrial robotics,” said Elise Neel, VP of Verizon New Business Incubation. “When we combine incubed IT’s capabilities with the reliability, responsiveness and vast capabilities of Verizon’s 5G platform, we will enable faster, less expensive and more effective adoption of robotic automation for enterprises everywhere.”
Verizon’s growing robotics portfolio
In February 2017, Verizon acquired commercial drone software and service company Skyward for an undisclosed amount. Verizon invested in Portland, Ore.-based Skyward in 2015 as part of a $4.1 million funding round. Verizon said drones could benefit from the company’s technologies, as connectivity on drones is often used to share flight information, report to air traffic control or send aerial images back in real time to operators.
In January 2021, Skyward and UPS Flight Forward announced a collaboration to test drone delivery at The Villages in Florida, a popular retirement community. Using Verizon 4G LTE, and 5G testing and integration for delivery, the companies aim to deliver retail products via connected drones to residents of The Villages.
“We’re just beginning to see how the power of 5G Ultra Wideband will transform the way businesses operate,” said Qureshi. “By partnering with UPS and other innovative companies, we can learn from each other’s expertise and collaborate to create solutions that help move the world forward.”
“The low latency of 5G and edge compute is ideal for monitoring air traffic in and out of a busy logistics hub, especially those using mixed fleets of autonomous vehicles like drones, trucks, and planes,” said Mariah Scott, Skyward President. “This year, we’ll be taking the collaboration with UPS further by testing 5G Ultra Wideband integrations to connect the sky.”
Verizon keynoted the Robotics Summit 2019, touting the benefits 5G will have on robotics. Joshua Ness, senior manager at Verizon 5G Labs in New York, said 5G enables supporting technologies, such as computer vision and edge computing, and will shorten processing time for various robotics applications.