David v Goliath in Chinese car market: Nio’s powerful slingshot

By Edward Tse, Gao Feng Advisory

The Chinese vehicle market is not only the largest in the world (sales of 28 million units in 2016) but it also offers the highest number of brands (130).

More and more new players – most of them local producers – are entering the field.

Globally China is establishing itself not only as the leading market for new-energy vehicles, but also for connectivity, autonomous driving and totally new mobility concepts.  Continue reading David v Goliath in Chinese car market: Nio’s powerful slingshot

How sensors and actuators are being used to create self-driven vehicles

Autonomous vehicles aren’t science fiction any more. Top automobile firms and technology giants are working towards making self-driven cars commercially available by 2021.

In the same way how IoT is revolutionizing the industrial organization, self-driven vehicles are revolutionizing the transportation industry, allowing people to travel safely and comfortably.

These connected vehicles have the ability to mitigate pollution owing to their real-time traffic information and smart routing.  Continue reading How sensors and actuators are being used to create self-driven vehicles

Pix unveils autonomous car which also functions as a coffee machine

A company called Pix Moving has launched a new self-driving car which can also serve coffee. 

Pix, a multidisciplinary technology developer specialising in robotics and automation, says the vehicle is of a modular design so it could be reconfigured for a variety of purposes.

The coffee-dispensing system utilises a Universal Robots arm functioning as a “barista”, which was last seen serving beer at Hannover Messe.  Continue reading Pix unveils autonomous car which also functions as a coffee machine

AME Industrial partners with Savoye to offer automation solutions in the US

AME Industrial, a solutions-based material handling systems integrator, and Savoye, a French-owned designer and manufacturer of automation technologies for warehousing and distribution, have agreed to a commercial partnership in the US.

AME Industrial will be representing the “Intelis” packaging machines product suite, with focus on Jivaro.

Jivaro is a system for case size optimization that reduces dim weight shipping costs for small parcels.  Continue reading AME Industrial partners with Savoye to offer automation solutions in the US

Canvas Technology raises $15 million to further develop its logistics robots

Canvas Technology says it has raised $15 million to accelerate the development of its autonomous robotic systems for the logistics sector. 

Canvas says its Series A financing was led by Playground Global, with participation from previous investors, including Xplorer Capital, AME Cloud Ventures and Morado Ventures.

Canvas Technology has built an autonomous system for movement of mobile vehicles in factories and warehouses. It also offers a cart (main picture). Continue reading Canvas Technology raises $15 million to further develop its logistics robots

On the way to autonomous driving: Mercedes-Benz on an automated test drive in South Africa

Daimler Mercedes-Benz has been testing its autonomous driving technologies on the roads in South Africa

Road traffic in South Africa poses some very special challenges: different road surfaces, wild animals on the road and many pedestrians in both urban traffic and on national roads, which often cross the road completely unexpectedly.

Automated and autonomous vehicles must take these special features into account and respond reliably.

On the fourth leg of the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent World Drive, the test vehicle, which is based on the S-Class series sedan, presents its South African peculiarities in automated test drives in the Western Cape Province and in Cape Town.  Continue reading On the way to autonomous driving: Mercedes-Benz on an automated test drive in South Africa

BlueBotics says its autonomous vehicle guidance system is finding new customers

BlueBotics says it is finding new customers for its autonomous vehicle guidance systems from various parts of the world. 

Most of the vehicles are used in logistics, and include small mobile platforms as well as driverless forklifts. (See video below.)

In total, says the company, more than 500 autonomous vehicles now use the BlueBotics guidance system, which is called “Ant”.  Continue reading BlueBotics says its autonomous vehicle guidance system is finding new customers

More than half of warehouse businesses to upgrade mobile equipment

More than half of warehousing and supply chain businesses are planning to upgrade their mobile devices, according to a new survey.

This is one of the findings of a new research study, Taking Advantage of Apps and App Modernization in Warehousing, released by Ivanti.

Based on research conducted by VDC Research, the study addresses the evolution of mobility in warehousing and outlines evolving requirements shaping the future of mobile applications within the supply chain.  Continue reading More than half of warehouse businesses to upgrade mobile equipment

The big feature: Urban mobility in China – why car sharing is set to take off

By Klaus Schmitz, Arthur D. Little

China’s dominating chauffer companies, Didi and Uber China, merged in 2016, wrapping up a history of fierce competition for the city-mobility market.

The two are now left with a huge shared customer pool that knows a lot about their choices for mobility.

The new phase being ushered in is car sharing, which is poised for explosive growth across China.

In this article, Klaus Schmitz of consultancy firm Arthur D Little examines the market dynamics and the major hurdles, and makes predictions for the future of the Chinese car-sharing scene.  Continue reading The big feature: Urban mobility in China – why car sharing is set to take off

Vecna Robotics wins DHL logistics automation competition

Vecna Robotics, a provider of robotic material handling autonomous ground vehicles, has been awarded first place in the DHL and Dell Robotics Mobile Picking Challenge 2017.

The event was held last week at the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany.

The challenge required a mobile robot capable of navigating traditional warehouse shelves, and picking boxes and totes.  Continue reading Vecna Robotics wins DHL logistics automation competition

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