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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   -   March 8, 2018

In 2010 I wrote that there were three sponsored research projects to solve the problem of safely inspecting and maintaining high voltage transmission lines using robotics. Existing 2010 methods ranged from humans crawling the lines, to helicopters flying close-by and scanning, to cars and jeeps with people and binoculars attempting to scan with the human eye. (2010 article)

by   -   March 2, 2018

Nineteen different startups were funded in February, raising $377 million; a substantial two-month start for the new year. Five acquisitions were reported during the month, while the IPO front had no activity whatsoever.

by   -   February 15, 2018

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga said that “data is the new oil.” Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, says that artificial intelligence combined with data gathered by billions of sensors is bringing on an information revolution.

Manufacturers everywhere are changing – some, with government assistance – because of new technologies, new competitors, new ecosystems, and new ways of doing business. Companies that adopt these new digital-based capabilities are creating value in their businesses and becoming leaders of their industries.

The following 18 recent research reports, grouped into five categories, cover the robotics industry. All indicate double-digit compound annual growth rates (CAGR) and each makes the connection of digitalization and data to growth and economic efficiencies.

by   -   February 2, 2018

Twenty-five different startups were funded in January cumulatively raising $784 million; a great start for the new year. Four acquisitions were reported during the month while the IPO front lay waiting for something to happen.

by   -   January 22, 2018

This year’s CES was a great show for robots. “From the latest in self-driving vehicles, smart cities, AI, sports tech, robotics, health and fitness tech and more, the innovation at CES 2018 will further global business and spur new jobs and new markets around the world,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA.

by   -   January 15, 2018

Today’s e-commerce spurs demand for reduced response times in fulfillment centers; generally has fewer products per order; and is constantly changing — increasing system complexity and the need for flexibility in automation. Today’s warehouses and distribution centers are far more complex than they were 10 years ago and employee turnover remains high; with complexity comes higher wages yet labor is increasingly hard to find — all adding to the equation.

by   -   January 2, 2018

Twenty-one different startups were funded in December cumulatively raising $430 million, down from the $782 million in November. Three didn’t report the amount of their funding. Only three were over $50 million of which one was a Chinese startup. Three acquisitions were reported during the month including two takeovers of Western robotics companies by Chinese ones. Nothing new on the IPO front.

by   -   December 6, 2017

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 acquisitions were reported during the month including another takeover of a European robotics company by a Chinese one.

On the IPO front, three existing publicly-traded stocks announced additional shares to raise additional funds.

by   -   November 29, 2017

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 terrorist organization or government—run rampant.

by   -   November 24, 2017

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.

by   -   November 24, 2017

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 to use Locus’ solutions without a large-scale capital investment.

by   -   November 19, 2017
Credit: Photograph by Sebastian Mader for TIME

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.

by   -   November 19, 2017

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.

by   -   November 19, 2017

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.

by   -   November 13, 2017

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.