Industrial Robot Companies Expand Automation Efforts Through Funding and New Initiatives
Learn about some of the latest funding, acquisitions, and innovations in the industrial robotics industry from companies like Ambi Robotics and SoftAI.
The robotics and automation field is always changing. New partnerships, funding sources, and spinoffs are being formed every day. This article discusses a few of the latest companies to bring cutting-edge technology and news to the robotics space.
New Funding for Locus Robotics and Ambi Robotics
Tiger Global Management recently provided funding to two automation companies, Ambi Robotics and Locus Robotics. Tiger joins several other firms that have provided funding to both of these companies.
Ambi Robotics received $26 million to scale up their automation and personnel to support widespread robotics implementation in the supply chain. Ambi specializes in artificial intelligence (AI) and highly-dexterous robots, primarily picking, packing, and shipping operations.
The CEO of Ambi Robotics, Jim Leifner, commented, “Ambi Robotics combines cutting-edge AI technology with engaging user interfaces to transform the role of ‘item handlers’ to ‘robot handlers’.”
The funding will also be used to increase product and customer support staff and offerings.
Ambi Robotics picking robot. Image used courtesy of Ambi Robotics
Locus Robotics received $50 million in funding from Tiger Global Management to help support the worldwide growth of robotic package handling. In particular, the growth of online businesses, labor shortages, and 24-hour purchasing through websites has expanded the need for faster and safer package handling.
Locus Robotics specializes in collaborative robots and has developed autonomous vehicles that can deliver goods and packages around a warehouse with limited human interaction. These cobots have proven effective in materials handling and shipping operations and reduce the amount of lifting and carrying of packages by human beings. This creates a safer work environment.
Locus Robotics and Waypoint Robotics’s New Partnership
Besides receiving funding from Tiger Global Management, Locus Robotics recently acquired Waypoint Robotics, another automation manufacturing company.
When asked about the acquisition, Jason Walker, CEO of Waypoint Robotics, mentioned, “Waypoint shares Locus commitment to technology excellence in the pursuit of customer success. We are excited to contribute to the expansion of the Locus product family in order to deliver a broader range of solutions, as well as access a new market segment.”
Locus Robotics warehouse cobots in action. Image used courtesy of Locus Robotics
The acquisition of Waypoint Robotics will add products to the Locus catalog. Robot lifting and transporting capacities at Locus will increase, given Waypoint’s successes in heavy industry. The ability to handle larger packages and deliver heavier payloads will be of particular interest to one of Locus’ primary customers: DHL. DHL ships packages worldwide and relies heavily on automation at its fulfillment warehouses.
SoftRobotics recently announced a new spinoff organization, SoftAI, which will mainly target the food processing industry. One of the major challenges in food processing robotics is the ability to grasp small, fragile objects, such as fruits and vegetables.
mGrip food handling device. Image used courtesy of SoftAI
Automation must meet stringent cleaning and sanitation guidelines to prevent the spreading of foodborne diseases. In the past, tomatoes have been picked robotically while the tomato is still green to skirt around, needing the precise control required to pick a ripe tomato without damaging it.
SoftAI intends to incorporate 3D vision and AI to create true “hand-eye coordination” to ensure proper pressure is applied to food during handling.
Whether it’s an acquisition, new funding, or new products, there’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time for the industrial robotics industry. What kind of innovations do you hope to see in the coming months?