Robohub.org
 

Willow Garage changing

by
12 February 2013



share this:
willow_garage_logo-1360629665419

One of the most iconic and influential robotics companies has just let staff know that Willow Garage will be making big changes in the next few months:

Willow Garage has decided to enter the world of commercial opportunities with an eye to becoming a self-sustaining company. This is an important change to our funding model.

On the surface this is sad news, and I hope that we see a lot of attention given to the huge contribution that Willow Garage has made to robotics over their short but significant history.

Scott Hassan founded Willow Garage in late 2006 to accelerate the development of non-military robotics and advance open source robotics software. Named as an homage to the garages that spawned the computer industry, he envisioned an innovative research lab infused with the engineering expertise of a product development company. The goal was simple: to push the frontiers of robotics, both scientifically and commercially. Scott put together a funding package with the unique goals of impact first, return on capital second, with the strong belief that success in the first goal (impact) would provide plenty of opportunities to excel at the second (return on capital).

Willow Garage’s PR2 program has seen consolidation of high level robotics research across universities, a direction continued by the ROS open source initiative and the low cost Turtlebot research platform. Along the way, Willow Garage have also started Open CV and the Point Cloud Library.

In fact, Willow have successfully spun off 7 or 8 other companies or foundations, including Suitable Technologies, hiDOF, IPI, & Redwood Robotics, not to mention the momentum given to many individual careers and startups. They have generated a lot of business, and we’re seeing the down side of that right now. There is too much activity at the edge and not enough in the center.

Perhaps there doesn’t need to be. I see this really as a vindication of Willow’s goals, to push the frontiers of robotics forward and return on investment. They have succeeded, they have spun off and Willow as it was, is no longer necessary. Think of the incredible opportunities to start robotics companies in Silicon Valley right now. Maybe the future is rosier than it seems.

pr2Image

tags: ,


Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.
Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.





Related posts :



ep.

352

podcast

Robotics Grasping and Manipulation Competition Spotlight, with Yu Sun

Yu Sun, previous chair of the Robotics Grasping and Manipulation Competition, speaks on the value that this competition brought to the robotics community.
21 May 2022, by
ep.

351

podcast

Early Days of ICRA Competitions, with Bill Smart

Bill Smart, one fo the early ICRA Competition Chairs, dives into the high-level decisions involved with creating a meaningful competition.
21 May 2022, by

New imaging method makes tiny robots visible in the body

Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-​sized microrobots individually and at high resolution in a living organism.
20 May 2022, by

A draft open standard for an Ethical Black Box

Within the RoboTIPS project, we have developed and tested several model of Ethical Black Boxes, including one for an e-puck robot, and another for the MIRO robot.
19 May 2022, by

Unable to attend #ICRA2022 for accessibility issues? Or just curious to see robots?

There are many things that can make it difficult to attend an in person conference in the United States and so the ICRA Organizing Committee, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and OhmniLabs would like to help you attend ICRA virtually.
17 May 2022, by
ep.

350

podcast

Duckietown Competition Spotlight, with Dr Liam Paull

Dr. Liam Paull, cofounder of the Duckietown competition talks about the only robotics competition where Rubber Duckies are the passengers on an autonomous driving track.
17 May 2022, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association