Lidar developer Ouster backed by Cox Enterprises raises $27 million

A startup company called Ouster has raised $27 million in its Series A funding round, led by Cox Enterprises, a diversified company which has a very large automotive business unit. 

Ouster is a developer of light detection and radar systems, or lidar, which is said to be a critical component in many new technologies, including autonomous cars. A lidar unit can often be seen on top of self-driving cars, and looks a bit like a siren light.

Ouster’s new product is called OS1 Lidar, which is likely to find wide application as a perception technology for the autonomous vehicle and robotics sectors.  Continue reading Lidar developer Ouster backed by Cox Enterprises raises $27 million

Exotec unveils new warehouse automation system with integrated robot

A French company called Exotec Solutions has unveiled its warehouse robot, which looks similar to the mobile autonomous vehicles from a number of other companies. 

The market for such vehicles has been expanding, at least in terms of the number of companies offering solutions.

It remains to be seen how well they sell, but if Amazon’s heavy utilisation of similar logistics robots is anything to go by, the market is likely to grow fast.  Continue reading Exotec unveils new warehouse automation system with integrated robot

San Francisco effectively bans sidewalk robots

The local authorities in San Francisco have effectively banned robots from sidewalks in a vote a couple of days ago. 

Local businesses, especially takeaway restaurants, had been experimenting with using autonomous wheeled robots to deliver customers’ orders.

A number of robotics companies have been developing such robots. They include:

Starship is probably the most well known among these companies, having already made deliveries in other parts of the US, and having developed a partnership with Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes.  Continue reading San Francisco effectively bans sidewalk robots

GreyOrange launches new AI for logistics robots and warehouse automation

Automation and robotics company GreyOrange has released its next-generation software platform, GreyMatter, which features artificial intelligence.

The company made the announcement at the launch of the latest warehouse of the Nitori, said to be Japan’s largest furniture and home furnishing chain with over 400 stores.

The Butler robotics system from GreyOrange is being used at the Osaka centre of Home Logistics, a logistics subsidiary of Nitori which operates 34 distribution bases and a logistics network for product delivery to stores and e-commerce customers across Japan.  Continue reading GreyOrange launches new AI for logistics robots and warehouse automation

Fetch Robotics raises $25 million in investment round led by Sway Ventures

Fetch Robotics, a provider of a range of warehouse automation and logistics robot solutions, has raised $25 million in Series B funding.

The round was led by Sway Ventures with participation from existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures and SoftBank Group US.

The Series B round brings Fetch Robotics’ total funding to date to $48 million.  Continue reading Fetch Robotics raises $25 million in investment round led by Sway Ventures

European Commission to accelerate intra-factory logistics for small businesses

The European Commission is to accelerate the automation of intra-factory logistics of small and medium enterprises, through a project called Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs, or L4MS.

The EC says L4MS will “completely digitalize logistics automation in factories”.

Initially, the plan was for L4MS to conceive three pilots and 20 cross-border application experiments to demonstrate “highly autonomous, configurable and hybrid, or human-robot, logistics solutions”, driven by the business needs of the manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps.  Continue reading European Commission to accelerate intra-factory logistics for small businesses

Bleum launches warehouse and logistics robotic system

A company called Bleum has unveiled its integrated warehouse robotics solution at the grand opening of its new showroom in Denver, Colorado. 

Bleum says that logistics robots are able to deliver cost savings of 70 per cent or more for warehouse operations, adding that the market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion by 2021.

The company says early adopters of logistics robots have found their “benefits extend beyond cost savings”, enabling greater agility to scale up and down operations to meet the ebbs and flows of demand, and significantly improve the speed and throughput of distribution centers.  Continue reading Bleum launches warehouse and logistics robotic system

Suning launches ‘basically unmanned’ automated warehouse with plans to use 1,000 robots

A company called Suning Commerce Group has unveiled its automated warehouse (video below) as part of what it calls its “smart retail” strategy.

Suning is a Fortune Global 500 company owned by Suning Holdings Group.

The company has put its automated guided vehicle warehouse into service in Fengxian District, Shanghai, “boosting its capabilities in the field of smart logistics”, according to Suning.  Continue reading Suning launches ‘basically unmanned’ automated warehouse with plans to use 1,000 robots

Rohm supplies silicon carbide power modules to Formula E racing team Venturi

Rohm Semiconductor is providing the full SiC [silicon carbide] power modules to the Venturi Formula E team in the FIA Formula E 2017–2018.

Probably the only racing series for electric vehicles in the world, and very likely the largest, the Formula E competition started in the last couple of days in Hong Kong.

The module Rohm is supplying will support further improvements in the car’s performance under racing conditions.  Continue reading Rohm supplies silicon carbide power modules to Formula E racing team Venturi

Infineon supplying chips for Audi A8, said to be ‘world’s first series production car with autonomous driving features’

Infineon Technologies is supplying computing technology for the Audi A8, which is claimed to be “the world’s first series production car with autonomous driving features”.

Infineon says it supplies key components for the Audi A8 which gives the car level 3 automated driving capabilities.

The ability of cars to self-drive is split into a number of different levels, as defined by the international engineers’ association, SAE.  Continue reading Infineon supplying chips for Audi A8, said to be ‘world’s first series production car with autonomous driving features’

Denso and Symbio to establish technology innovation center in Finland

Denso, one of the world’s largest suppliers of robotics and automation technologies, is partnering with software company Symbio to establish a technology innovation centre in Finland.

Denso, the main supplier to Toyota and one of the leading automotive component manufacturers in general, says the innovation center in Finland is a joint enterprise based at Symbio’s premises in Espoo, Finland.

Symbio is a technology research and development company with expertise in robotics, automation and internet of things systems.

It’s likely that the first products to emerge from the collaboration will relate to connected, autonomous and electric cars and other vehicles.  Continue reading Denso and Symbio to establish technology innovation center in Finland

Logistics robots: NextShift’s ‘unique workflow’ increases productivity and efficiency

Exclusive interview with NextShift Robotics CEO

The robotics and automation industry has always held a fascination for many people – for seasoned professionals and even passing observers alike. 

And it’s been particularly interesting in the past couple of years, for several reasons.

One reason is the advancements in computing – both hardware and software, perhaps most importantly in networking.  Continue reading Logistics robots: NextShift’s ‘unique workflow’ increases productivity and efficiency

Baumüller demonstrates compact drive system for an ‘electric, multifunctional municipal vehicle’

Baumüller has developed a compact drive system with a very high level of energy efficiency for a fully electric municipal vehicle.

The vehicle is designed in series production for a speed of up to 80 km/h and has a range of 100 kilometers.

An emission-free, environmentally-friendly and low-noise multifunctional municipal vehicle has been created in conjunction with other companies.  Continue reading Baumüller demonstrates compact drive system for an ‘electric, multifunctional municipal vehicle’

Rio Tinto demonstrates autonomous freight train featuring Ansaldo technology

Ansaldo STS says its technology and delivery capability were key to the success of mining giant Rio Tinto’s fully autonomous freight rail trial.

Ansaldo is a specialist supplier of driverless technology for metro, rail solutions.

The company says it has now proven its expertise in autonomous heavy freight rail, following Rio Tinto’s recent successful trial of Australia’s first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey (main picture).  Continue reading Rio Tinto demonstrates autonomous freight train featuring Ansaldo technology

Locus Robotics raises another $25 million in funding

Locus Robotics has raised $25 million in its latest funding round. 

Locus makes autonomous, mobile robots for use in e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, today announced it has secured $25 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing in the future of work.

Existing investors also participated in the round.  Continue reading Locus Robotics raises another $25 million in funding