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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   -   July 19, 2017

After much uproar, media attention, and political pressure, Pres. Trump intervened and enabled all the teams headed to Washington, DC for the F.I.R.S.T Global Robotics Championship, whose visas had been held up or denied, to get their visas. Some visas were received as late as two days before the event. Although the Afghan team got all the press, the team from Gambia was also denied when they first applied.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) cites that between 2010 and 2016, 136,748 robots were shipped to the US —the most in any seven-year period in the US robotics industry. At the same time, US manufacturing employment increased by 894,000 and the unemployment rate fell from 9.8% to 4.7%.

by   -   July 13, 2017
Source: Getty Images

SoftBank’s Pepper humanoid robot operation (a joint venture with Foxconn, Alibaba and SoftBank) has incurred a big $274 million loss while Asia more than doubled the amount of funding for tech startups thus far in 2017. No one ever said VC funding was for the faint of heart.

by   -   July 11, 2017

Two reputable research resources are reporting that the robotics industry is growing more rapidly than expected. BCG (Boston Consulting Group) is conservatively projecting that the market will reach $87 billion by 2025; Tractica, incorporating the robotic and AI elements of the emerging self-driving industry, is forecasting the market will reach $237 billion by 2022.

by   -   July 9, 2017

In the race to develop self-driving technology, Chinese Internet giant Baidu unveiled its 50+ partners in an open source development program, revised its timeline for introducing autonomous driving capabilities on open city roads, described the Project Apollo consortium and its goals, and declared Apollo to be the ‘Android of the autonomous driving industry’.

China’s second-biggest e-commerce company, JD.com (Alibaba is first), is testing mobile robots to make deliveries to its customers, and imagining a future with fully unmanned logistics systems.

by   -   July 3, 2017

UPDATED 7/4/2017: Added acquisition of OC Robotics by GE Aviation.

June, 2017 saw two robotics-related companies get $50 million each and 17 others raised $248 million for a monthly total of $348 million. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with SoftBank's acquisition of Google's robotic properties Boston Dynamics and Schaft plus two others acquisitions.

by   -   June 26, 2017
Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is researching autonomous co-piloting so they can fly without a human pilot on board. The robotic system — called the Common Aircraft Retrofit for Novel Autonomous Control (CARNAC) (not to be confused with the old Johnny Carson Carnac routine) — has the potential to reduce costs, enable new missions, and improve performance.

by   -   June 20, 2017

Conferences and trade shows, held in interesting locations around the world, can be entertaining, informative and an opportunity to explore new places, meet new people and renew acquaintances. Three recent examples: Xponential, the mostly defense-related unmanned land, sea and air show, held in Dallas; Innorobo, focused on service robotics, in Paris; and ICRA, the IEEE’s premier robotics conference, in Singapore.

by   -   June 12, 2017
Source: Uber

Uber, the global ride-sharing transportation company, has named two replacements to recover from the recent firing of Anthony Levandowski who headed their Advanced Technologies Group, their OTTO trucking unit, and their self-driving team. Levandowski was fired May 30th.

Spotmini by Boston Dynamics. Source: Boston Dynamics/YouTube

In a long-awaited transaction, The New York Times Dealbook announced that SoftBank was buying Boston Dynamics from Alphabet (Google). Also included in the deal is the Japanese startup Schaft. Acquisition details were not disclosed.

by   -   June 7, 2017

In 2015, after much research, I wrote about China having 194 robot companies and used screen shots of The Robot Report’s Global Map to show where they were and a chart to show their makeup. We’ve just concluded another research project and have added hundreds of new Chinese companies to the database and global map.

by   -   June 1, 2017

May 2017 had two robotics-related companies get $9.5 billion in funding and 22 others raised $249 million. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with Toyota Motor’s $260 million acquisition of Bastian Solutions plus three others (where the amounts weren’t disclosed).

by   -   May 31, 2017
Levandowski (right) at MCE 2016. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Andy Rubin, who developed the Android operating system at Google then went on to lead Google through multiple acquisitions into robotics, has launched a new consumer products company. Anthony Levandowski, who, after many years with Google and their autonomous driving project, launched Otto which Uber acquired, was sued by Google, and just got fired by Uber.

by   -   May 26, 2017
The Wolf: The Hunt Continues Starring Christian Slater Presented by HP Studios | HP Source: HP Studios/YouTube

Here’s a video you will want to watch. “The Wolf: The Hunt Continues” is really an ad showing how a hacker can enter a network through an unprotected printer (or robot). Christian Slater stars as the evil hacker.


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