ABB and Sevensense Partner to Promote AI Capabilities in Autonomous Mobile Robots

December 01, 2021 by Ben Stepanian

Who is Sevensense, and how could this partnership leverage new technology in artificial intelligence and machine learning for autonomous mobile robots?

Sevensense, a Switzerland-based start-up company that specializes in 3D autonomy, is partnering with ABB to produce mobile robots for various industrial applications


ABB and Sevensense

ABB strategically and invested in and partnered with Sevensense to optimize their existing robotic solutions or autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Sevensense utilizes artificial intelligence to render a 3D map (compared to 2D) for a robot can better understand its environment.


ABB’s YuMi robot. Image used courtesy of ABB


This partnership aims to create the next level of robotic solutions and enhance the quality of various manufacturing operations. ABB’s experience in robotics hopes to drive Sevensenses’ technology to help OEMs that rely on robotics. Sevensense’s new AI solution allows robots to better understand what environment they are working in. 


Video used courtesy of Sevensense


From now on, the robots won't consider everything as an obstacle. Rather they will be able to differentiate between a person, wall, pallet, or even another autonomous robot. Traditionally, laser scanning was utilized to achieve this level of artificial understanding but was not considered cost-effective.


Utilizing SLAM Technology

This new technology is called SLAM or 3D simultaneous localization and mapping. This technology aims to enable better human to robot interaction and increase productivity.

With this technology, AMR’s can work in harsher environments and perform repetitive tasks without skipping a beat. There's no need to configure your environment when deploying an AMR anymore.

Robots using SLAM technology can be deployed into environments and learn the lay of the land themselves, even when that land may be evolving. Both Sevensense and ABB hope to benefit from this partnership. ABB can make their automation portfolio more defined, and Sevensense hopes to have more security for the coming years. 


What to Expect

ABB will integrate Sevensense’s technology into customer projects for 2022. ABB invested in Sevensense after they participated in ABB’s 2021 Robotics Innovation Challenge. 

Commenting on the news, ABB’s President Sami Atiya mentioned, "Integrating Sevensense’s AI and 3D mapping technology with our AMR offering will help accelerate the replacement of today’s linear production lines with fully flexible networks. Our vision of the future workplace is one in which AMRs move materials, parts, and finished products between smart workstations in increasingly unstructured, dynamic work environments and our partnership with Sevensense is an important step in realizing that vision.”


Sevensense navigation technology uses advanced computer vision and AI algorithms to create a 3D map. Image used courtesy of ABB


This partnership included an investment through ABB’s venture capital unit, which is expected to close by the end of November 2021. The world can expect to see autonomous solutions changing the workflow of traditional operations from a linear layout into a more effective dynamic layout.

When this technology gains more notoriety, engineers could expect SLAM technology to integrate in other industries like automotive or industrial manufacturing. Another concern of industries switching to automated solutions is the loss of jobs performed by humans. These opportunities render new ones in coding and emerging technology.

ABB and Sevensense are hopeful that combining their technology and expertise in AI and industrial robotics can allow them to achieve their goals.