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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   -   September 20, 2017

SharkNinja, a well-known marketer of home consumer products, has entered the American robotic vacuum market with a product that is priced to compete against iRobot’s Roomba line of floor cleaners. Their new ION Robot navigates floors and carpets and docks and recharges automatically. It sells at a very favorable price point to iRobot’s.

by   -   September 8, 2017

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.

by   -   September 5, 2017

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 reviewing.

by   -   September 2, 2017


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.

by   -   August 30, 2017

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) and 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 market share to 31% (up 120% from 2015).

by   -   August 11, 2017
DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The U.S. Army has ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology because of “cyber vulnerabilities.” The directive applies to all DJI drones and systems that use DJI components or software. It requires service members to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries and storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction.”

Instead of worrying so much about robots taking away jobs, maybe we should worry more about wages being too low for robots to even get a chance. Seasonal labor for harvesting agricultural products, particularly fruits and vegetables, is dependent on human labor from a diminishing universe of willing workers.

by   -   August 7, 2017
Credit: Auris Surgical Robotics.

Auris Surgical Robotics, the Silicon Valley startup headed by Frederic Moll who previously co-founded Hansen Medical and Intuitive Surgical, raised $280 million in a Series D round led by Coatue Management and including earlier investors Mithril Capital Management, Lux Capital, Highland Capital and 24 others.

by   -   August 1, 2017

July 2017 was a big month for robotics-related company funding. Four raised $588 million and 19 others raised $370.6 million for a monthly total of $958.6 million. Acquisitions also continued to be significant with ST Engineering acquiring Aethon for $36 million, iRobot buying its European distributor for $141 million, and SoftBank purchasing 5% of iRobot shares for around $120 million.

Android textured with flag of china. Technology concept. Isolated

China has recently announced their long-term goal to become #1 in A.I. by 2030. They plan to grow their A.I. industry to over $22 billion by 2020, $59 billion by 2025 and $150 billion by 2030. They did this same type of long-term strategic planning for robotics – to make it an in-country industry and to transform the country from a low-cost labor source to a high-tech manufacturing resource, and it’s working.

by   -   July 25, 2017
Savioke Relay Dash delivery robot. Source: Savioke

Recent events demonstrate the growing presence of indoor mobile robots: (1) Savioke’s hotel butler robot won the 2017 IERA inventors award; (2) Knightscope’s security robot mistook a reflecting pond for a solid floor and dove in face-first to the delight of Twitterdom and the media; and (3) the sale of robotic hospital delivery provider Aethon to a Singaporean conglomerate.

by   -   July 25, 2017

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) has acquired Pittsburgh, PA-based robotics firm Aethon Inc through Vision Technologies Land Systems, Inc. (VTLS), and its wholly-owned subsidiary, VT Robotics, Inc, for $36 million.

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.


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