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Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report After selling his business and retiring from 25+ years as a provider of computer direct marketing and consulting to the Democratic National Committee, major presidential and other campaigns and initiatives, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching and investing in robotics. In 2013 he co-founded Robo-STOX™ LLC (renamed in 2015 to ROBO-Global) and developed a tracking index for the robotics industry: the ROBO-Global™ Robotics & Automation Index. Frank is a member of Robohub and also a panel member for panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.
by   -   August 22, 2016
A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program, Source: AT&T/YouTube
A Bird’s Eye View of AT&T’s Drone Inspection Program, Source: AT&T/YouTube

CNN just inaugurated their new drone division. So have many other news organizations. Network providers are also setting up drone operations for a variety of purposes.

by   -   August 19, 2016
Source: Jibo/YouTube
Source: Jibo/YouTube

Bringing a complex new product to market is an intensive process fraught with problems. Getting hardware ready for manufacturing is often the easy part; it’s the software and regulatory compliance that’s often the most challenging. Here are three examples: Ford Motor Co., Velodyne LiDAR and Jibo.

by   -   August 18, 2016
Hunan Changsha 5S robot store. Source: gog.cn
Hunan Changsha 5S robot store. Source: gog.cn

Chinese consumer manufacturer Midea, after having spent over $4 billion to acquire 94% of German robot maker Kuka, is planning to spend an additional $1.5 billion to turn itself into China’s preeminent robot powerhouse.

by   -   August 17, 2016

warehouse-distribution-centre-supply-chain

International Data Corporation (IDC) has awarded five pioneering players in the warehouse robotics market with the 2016 IDC Innovators Award. Companies selected met the following criteria: revenue of less than $50 million with an innovative technology, or a groundbreaking new business model, or both.

by   -   August 11, 2016

Robot-sale-business-robots-selling

Spin-offs are disrupting, but often necessary. Here are two recent examples: iRobot sold off its Defense & Security Business Unit to a private equity firm, and Harvest Automation sold the IP and work in process of its warehousing robot group to a new venture-backed startup.

by   -   August 5, 2016
Maj. (Dr.) George Kallingal showcases a robotic surgical system while Lt. Col. (Dr.) Thomas Novak, Brooke Army Medical Center's chief of pediatric urology, looks on at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio.  Photo credit: Robert Shields
Maj. (Dr.) George Kallingal showcases a robotic surgical system while Lt. Col. (Dr.) Thomas Novak, Brooke Army Medical Center’s chief of pediatric urology, looks on at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio. Photo credit: Robert Shields

Robotic surgery has long been dominated by Intuitive Surgical which has placed more than 3,600 of its da Vinci machines in hospitals around the world. Nevertheless, an increasing number of new players are entering the marketplace.

by   -   August 3, 2016

stock_market_exchange_money

Despite all the high-profile billion-dollar acquisitions, eg: ARM by SoftBank, KUKA by Midea and Uber China by Didi Chuxing, M&A are down 19% this year, according to both Forbes and CB Insights. Buyers are buying, but they are seeking cash-positive market-realistic targets. Values (both monetary and vanity) are taking a hit. What’s a startup to do?

According to CB Insights, startups can (1) get bought at a lower valuation and take the hit; (2) lower their cash burn rate and play the long game; or, (3), if they already have strong fundamentals and good growth, continue on.

by   -   August 2, 2016
Image source: Delphi
Image credit: Delphi

Delphi Automotive, the global provider of vehicle electronics components, will begin testing 6 phone-dispatched autonomous taxis in Singapore that will go point-to-point based on customer requests with a goal of providing no-driver-in-the-car service by 2019, and cars without steering wheels by 2022.

by   -   July 26, 2016
Photo credit: The Robot Report
Photo credit: The Robot Report

AUTOMATICA 2016, held in June in Munich at the massive Messe tradefair facility, is a gigantic show focused on automation, mechatronics, robotics and emerging technologies as they relate to the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

by   -   July 21, 2016
Image source: KUKA Aktiengesellschaft
Image source: KUKA Aktiengesellschaft

Since the announcement of the month-long tender offer by Midea to buy 49% of the shares of German robot maker KUKA AG – and private negotiations – Midea now has 85.69% of the shares.

by   -   July 19, 2016
Pepper-and-Softbank-CEO_800_613_80
Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son proudly showcases Pepper, a human-like robot.

The announcement that SoftBank will spend $32 billion to acquire ARM Holdings means the Japanese firm is buying the most important company in the world of mobile processors for smartphone and Internet of Things devices.

by   -   July 14, 2016
Screenshot from presentation about deep learning we may use everyday. Source: Frank Chen, with Andreessen Horowitz
Screenshot from presentation about deep learning we may use everyday. Source: Frank Chen, with Andreessen Horowitz

Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital and private equity firm, said, “It is absolutely non-controversial that deep learning is the most fundamental advance in AI research since the start [of A.I.] in 1956.”

by   -   July 12, 2016
Source: Momentum Machines
Source: Momentum Machines

Re-joining the ranks, Sony announced a return to robotics. Momentum is opening a robot hamburger shop. And Starship is beginning to deliver food to three cities in Europe.

by   -   July 11, 2016

robot_report3

The number of research reports studying the robotics industry is growing exponentially. To date in 2016 there have been 109 on subjects ranging from overly broad to very drilled-down views of the industry. Prices range from $800 to $6,500.

Below are short profiles of 62 of those reports and the other 47 can be seen here. Many of the reports duplicate the coverage of others and frequently differ in their forecasts about the future. Some reports are marginally useful, others are full of valuable information. Bottom line: almost all of the reports are forecasting positive double-digit growth for most segments of the robotics industry.

by   -   July 5, 2016

pac-man-eating-small-companies-takeover-business.

First, the KION Group acquires Dematic for $2.5 billion. A week later, Honeywell acquires Intelligrated for $1.5 billion. KION acquires Retrotech and earlier still Egemin, while Kuka acquires Swisslog. What’s going on?


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