Columbia University develops soft actuator three times stronger than human muscle to make robots more lifelike

 

Columbia University says it has developed a self-contained soft actuator that is three times stronger than natural muscle, without the need of externals.

The researchers say the development means robotic motion will be more lifelike, and that it signals a breakthrough in soft robotics.

The creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems have been a long-standing issue, and the scientists at Columbia Engineering say they have solved it.  Continue reading Columbia University develops soft actuator three times stronger than human muscle to make robots more lifelike

Yamaha Motor opts for Siemens product lifecycle management to digitalise industrial processes

 

Yamaha Motor has selected Siemens to provide product lifecycle management software to support its digitalization initiative.

Yamaha will deploy the Siemens’ Teamcenter portfolio across all development divisions of their key business, motorcycle products.

Siemens claims Teamcenter is “the world’s most widely used digital lifecycle management software”.  Continue reading Yamaha Motor opts for Siemens product lifecycle management to digitalise industrial processes

Itron buys Silver Spring Networks for close to a billion dollars

 

Energy technology company Itron is to acquire industrial internet of things company Silver Spring Networks for more than $800 million.

The two companies have signed a definitive agreement for Itron to acquire all outstanding shares of Silver Spring for $16.25 per share in cash.

The transaction is valued at approximately $830 million, net of $118 million of Silver Spring’s cash.  Continue reading Itron buys Silver Spring Networks for close to a billion dollars

Industrial Internet Consortium launches smart factory machine learning platform

 

The Industrial Internet Consortium has launched what it calls the Smart Factory Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance Testbed.

The testbed is led by two companies, Plethora IIoT, and Xilinx.

IIC says the testbed explores machine-learning techniques and evaluates algorithmic approaches for time-critical predictive maintenance.  Continue reading Industrial Internet Consortium launches smart factory machine learning platform

Mitsubishi might invest $20 million in GreyOrange Robotics

 

Mitsubishi Electric is reportedly planning to invest almost $20 million into GreyOrange Robotics.

GreyOrange is a startup company developing robotics and automation systems for the logistics industry, particularly warehouse automation systems integrating robots, and has been growing fast, according to a story on EconomicTimes.com.

The investment would lead to a valuation for GreyOrange of an amount between $300 million and $500 million.  Continue reading Mitsubishi might invest $20 million in GreyOrange Robotics

HRG launches industrial robotics tutorial platform

 

HIT Robot Group, one of China’s leading manufacturer of robots, has launched an industrial robotics tutorial platform.

HRG says Haidu Academy is designed to help learners of different levels to improve their industrial robot-operating skills on various brands.

China is the largest and fastest-growing robot market in the world.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in the first seven months of 2017, 71,600 industrial robots were produced in China, accounting for more than 30 percent of global output during the period.

Statistics also suggest an increasing demand for skilled workers. The Ministry predicts that China will need 200,000 skilled workers to operate industrial robots as of 2020.

Continue reading HRG launches industrial robotics tutorial platform

Cambridge Medical Robotics raises another $26 million in funding

Cambridge Medical Robotics, a company which is developing a robotic system for minimal access surgery, has closed its Series A funding round, raising a further $26m.

The investment came from existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, LGT Global Invest, Escala Capital and ABB Technology Ventures, and new investor Watrium.

Together with the first tranche in July 2016, the Series A round has raised $46m in total.  Continue reading Cambridge Medical Robotics raises another $26 million in funding

ABB doubling investment in China to see off challenge from Kuka and surpass Fanuc

 

ABB has a significant lead in the industrial robotics and automation market in China, but it seems somewhat wary of Kuka. 

The company recently decided it would double its investment in its research and development facility in China, and effectively make it the company’s global R&D HQ.

ABB currently employs 17,000 people in 139 cities in China. Its robotics division, though huge by itself, is just one part of the Swiss multinational engineering company.

Speaking to Bloomberg, ABB CEO Ulrish Spiesshofer says: “ABB is ahead of Kuka globally, we are ahead of Kuka here in the market and our ambition is to stay so.”  Continue reading ABB doubling investment in China to see off challenge from Kuka and surpass Fanuc

Kawasaki planning to manufacture more robots, possibly a collaborative one

Kawasaki Robotics is planning to manufacture significantly more robots this year than it did in previous years, according to a report on Nikkei.com

The company is investing an extra $1 million in its Chonqing facility to increase robot production capacity.

The parent company, Kawasaki Heavy Industries employs around 35,000 people.  Continue reading Kawasaki planning to manufacture more robots, possibly a collaborative one

Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

Exclusive interview with Mike Bell from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu

There’s a lot of talk about the Robot Operating System. Understandably so. But the most widely used operating system in robotics and automation systems development is actually Ubuntu. 

In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

“You just write your application to interface into a ROS SDK and then deploy on Ubuntu.”  Continue reading Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

Samsung strengthens interest in autonomous driving with $300 million investment fund

Samsung has created a $300 million fund to build on a number of earlier investments in auto-related startups and technologies. 

Earlier this year, the electronics giant bought Harman, a premier supplier to original equipment manufacturers in the automotive sector.

The two companies have now jointly launched a new strategic initiative, focused on developing innovations for next-generation, smart, connected vehicles.

The main area of interest in autonomous driving, or advanced driver assistance systems, which are referred to in the auto trade as ADAS.  Continue reading Samsung strengthens interest in autonomous driving with $300 million investment fund

Teamsters boss files objections to driverless trucks

Teamsters general secretary-treasurer Ken Hall testified yesterday at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on self-driving technology, urging for the exemption of commercial vehicles from pending legislation and the need for further analysis of the safety, jobs and cybersecurity impact of developing technologies.

“It is incumbent upon the members of this committee to help ensure that workers are not left behind in this process. It is essential that American workers are not treated as guinea pigs for unproven technologies that could put their lives at risk,” Hall said.

Hall noted the Teamsters Union is concerned about the impact of advanced automated technologies on highway safety.  Continue reading Teamsters boss files objections to driverless trucks

Moduform puts Rethink Robotics collaborative robot to work making furniture

Challenged with a hard-to-find human workforce, family owned company brings in a robot

Family-owned furniture manufacturer Moduform has given a job to Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer collaborative robot at its Fitchburg, Massachusetts facility.

Faced with a shortage of workers, Moduform brought in Sawyer to fill that gap.

The company says utilising the collaborative robot is also helping to improve innovation, create better jobs for existing employees and meet market demands in the furniture manufacturing industry.  Continue reading Moduform puts Rethink Robotics collaborative robot to work making furniture

University of Illinois presents its TerraSentia farming robot to investors

Scientists at the University of Illinois, in the US, have presented agricultural robot technology which they say can save significant amounts of time and money in farm labour costs. 

The TerraSentia mobile robot for precision agriculture is being marketed by a startup company called EarthSense, presumably a spin-out from the university.

Developed with support from the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, the TerraSentia costs $5,000.  Continue reading University of Illinois presents its TerraSentia farming robot to investors

Kuka launches autonomous mobile robot for logistics

Kuka has launched an autonomous logistics robot in the form of a mobile platform which are by now quite familiar in the logistics industry. 

The robot maker says its Kuka KMP 1500 navigates using the SLAM method, which stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, utilising laser scanners.

It adds that the robot is highly flexible, and features precise maneuverability and positioning using the omni-directional mecanum wheels and an accurate lifting mechanism.  Continue reading Kuka launches autonomous mobile robot for logistics