CB Insights Drone Quarterly Financing Trends to VC-Backed Companies shows a downward trend. The Robot Report’s monthly funding reports show something different: a change in the nature of drone applications getting funded.
Developed by a team at the University of Toronto, mROBerTO (milli-ROBot TORonto) is designed for swarm-robotics researchers who might wish to test their collective-behavior algorithms with real physical robots. With just a 16 mm x 16 mm footprint, mROBerTO can be used in a multitude of other miniature robot projects too—its modular design allowing for easy addition or removal of components.
On July 15, 2016, Congress enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (the “Act”), which among other things, directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a process to enable applicants to petition the FAA Administrator to “prohibit or restrict the operation of an unmanned aircraft in close proximity to a fixed site facility.” Congress tasked the FAA with establishing a process for designating fixed site facilities no later than 180 days from the date of enactment. Below is an outline of the key problematic provisions in Section 2209 and a proposed path forward for establishing a process that meets the Congressional directive while not unnecessarily restricting industry.
Robots, like Julius from the Mining-ROX project, are a promising option to keep mining economical and safe. In our interview, we spoke with Prof. Bernhard Jung from TU Freiberg about why robots are important for the future of mining.
The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station conducted a joint training exercise with the Italian Coast Guard in Genoa, Italy to prevent future migrant drownings in the Mediterranean. Over the course of three days the exercise tested EMILY, a lifeguard assistant unmanned surface vehicle, a Fotokite tethered unmanned aerial vehicle, and LTE cellular communications. The goal is to accelerate research in robotics, sensors, and networks for marine mass casualty events as a crisis response.
For a sci-fi fan like me, fascinated by the nature of human intelligence and the possibility of building life-like robots, it’s always interesting to find a new angle on these questions. As a re-imagining of the original 1970s science fiction film set in a cowboy-themed, hyper-real adult theme park populated by robots that look and act like people, Westworld does not disappoint.
Swarms of drones will help farmers map weeds in their fields and improve crop yields. This is the promise of an ECHORD++ funded research project called ‘SAGA: Swarm Robotics for Agricultural Applications’. The project will deliver a swarm of drones programmed to monitor a field and, via on-board machine vision, precisely map the presence of weeds among crops.
Additionally, the drones attract each another at weed-infested areas, allowing them to inspect only those areas accurately, similar to how swarms of bees forage the most profitable flower patches. In this way, the planning of weed control activities can be limited to high-priority areas, generating savings at the same time as increasing productivity.
Sarah Hensley is preparing an astronaut named Valkyrie for a mission to Mars. It is 6 feet tall, weighs 300 pounds, and is equipped with an extended chest cavity that makes it look distinctly female. Hensley spends much of her time this semester analyzing the movements of one of Valkyrie’s arms.
In Darmstadt, Germany, European Space Agency (ESA) teams are scrambling to confirm contact with the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), Schiaparelli—the spectre of Philae still haunting the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC). Whether or not ESA ever speak to Schiaparelli again, the risky business of space robotics is once more laid bare.
You may be surprised, but I’m not. These are the people I see regularly both in Silicon Valley and overseas interacting with the robotics community. That makes them the smart money (most of the time). According to CB Insights, the 7 most active robotics investors over the last 5 years are: Eclipse Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Lux, Intel Capital, Sequoia China, CRV, and Visionaire Ventures.
As CB Insights demonstrates, old school ‘smart money’ is still making investments in robotics — just at a slower pace. Overall, the last 5 years has seen an increase in global robotics equity funding to $2.6 billion in 405 deals.