November fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Twenty-two different startups were funded in November cumulatively raising $782 million, down a bit from the $862 million in October. The big $400 million funding for UBTech and the $55 million for TuSimple were the only two fundings over $50 million and they were both for Chinese startups with funding from Chinese VC firms. Six…

Robots and the two-edged blade of new technology

There’s a scare-tactic video going around on social media, and I wanted to weigh in on it—this particular video has gone from 500,000 views to almost 2 million in the past 10 days. As a matter of principle, I will not link to it. It presents a scary future in which killer robotic drones—controlled by any…

30+2 research reports forecast significant growth for robot industry

Press releases for this batch of 30 research reports all agree that most segments of the robotics industry are expected to grow at a double-digit pace at least through 2022. Although these reports vary widely in their forecasts – often on the same topic, they all seem to agree that the global robotics industry is growing…

Locus Robotics raises $25 million for warehouse RaaS

Locus Robotics, a Wilmington, MA-based startup, raised $25 million in a Series B funding led by Silicon Valley Scale Venture Partners, with additional participation from existing investors. Locus plans to use the funds to expand into international markets and build up its growing subscription-based robot fleet. Locus business model uses Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) which allows customers…

Tesla gives self-driving trucking a boost

Tesla this week showcased an electric truck that will have some self-driving capabilities. Elon Musk unveiled a prototype for a battery-powered, nearly self-driving semi truck that the company said would prove more efficient and less costly to operate than the diesel trucks that now haul goods across the country. Quoting from The NY Times: The truck…

Jibo personal robot tops Time’s Best Innovations of 2017

Jibo is a personal robot with a difference. It is unlike the stationary Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It attempts to offer the same repertoire of features while adding its physical presence and mobility to the mix. Quoting Time Magazine, “Jibo looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie, with a big, round head and…

Another Chinese acquisition of a European robotics manufacturer

Huachangda Intelligent Equipment, a Chinese industrial robot integrator primarily servicing China’s auto industry, has acquired Swedish Robot System Products (RSP), a 2003 spin-off from ABB with 70 employees in Sweden, Germany and China, for an undisclosed amount. RSP manufactures grippers, welding equipment, tool changers and other peripheral products for robots. China is in the midst of a…

Bossa Nova raises $17.5 million for shelf-scanning mobile robots

Bossa Nova Robotics, a Silicon Valley developer of autonomous service robots for the retail industry, announced the close of a $17.5 million Series B funding round led by Paxion Capital Partners and participation by Intel Capital, WRV Capital, Lucas Venture Group (LVG), and Cota Capital. This round brings Bossa Nova’s total funding to date to $41.7 million. Bossa Nova…

Robots two-pronged role in Alibaba’s $25.3 billion Singles’ Day sale

The Singles’ Day Shopping Festival held each year on November 11th is just like Black Friday, Mothers’ Day or any other sales-oriented psuedo-holiday, but bigger and more extravagant. Starting in 2009 in China as a university campus event, Singles Day has now reached all over China and to more than 180 countries. After 24 hours…

October 2017 fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Twenty-eight different startups were funded in October cumulatively raising $862 million, up from $507 million in September. Three of the top four fundings were for startups involved in the self-driving process. An additional five lower-amount startups were also funded for self-driving applications or components along with two of the six acquisitions. Six acquisitions were reported…

5G fast and ultra-low latency robot control demonstrated

SoftBank and Huawei jointly demonstrated various use cases for their forthcoming 5G network. 5G commercial services, which will provide ultra-high throughput of over 800 Mbps with ultra-low latency transmission of less than 2ms, will begin being rolled out in 2020 in Japan and Korea and 2021-2023 in China, Europe and the U.S. 5G will (we…

Industrial cleaning equipment maker Nilfisk goes public

Danish Nilfisk Holding A/S began being listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange under symbol NLFSK after being spun off from NKT A/S, a Danish conglomerate. Nilfisk is one of the world’s leading suppliers of professional cleaning equipment with a strong brand and a vision for growth in robotics.

United Technologies acquires Rockwell Collins for $30 billion

Aerospace conglomerate United Technologies is paying $30 billion to acquire Rockwell Collins in a deal that creates one of the world’s largest makers of civilian and defense aircraft components. Rockwell Collins and United’s Aerospace Systems segment will combine to create a new business unit named Collins Aerospace Systems.

Isaac Asimov’s 3 laws of A.I. – updated

In an OpEd piece in the NY Times, and in a TED Talk late last year, Oren Etzioni, PhD, author, and CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, suggested an update for Isaac Asimov’s three laws of Artificial Intelligence. Given the widespread media attention emanating from Elon Musk’s (and others) warnings, these updates might be worth…

August 2017 fundings, acquisitions, IPOs and failures

August fundings totaled $369 million but the number of August transactions, seven, was down from previous months, eg: both July and June had 19 fundings each. Acquisitions, on the other hand, remained steady with a big one pending: Snap has been negotiating all month to acquire Chinese drone startup Zero Zero Robotics for around $150M.

Industrial robots in China up, up and away!

China has rapidly become a global leader in robotics and automation. 2016 annual sales of industrial robots reached the highest level ever for any single country: 87,000 units (up 27% from 2015). China’s stock of industrial robots is now, at 340,000 units, also the highest total in the world, while Chinese robot manufacturers increased their…

Quiet inroads in robotics: practical applications for service robots

The service robotics industry has been growing exponentially for the past 10 years and many are out in the field performing a wide and diverse range of useful tasks. Consider Savioke, Reis & Irvy, and ECOVACS. These three companies are providing unique, new uses for service robots and are indicative of the growth of service robotics in…