Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

“Lights-out manufacturing” is a term to mean the method of making things in a way that’s entirely automated and does not need humans to be involved in the process. 

Of course, humans initially set up the process, build the factory and so on, but the factory which outputs the final product only requires robotics and automation technology.

It’s an idea that has probably been explored in science fiction many times, but in reality, a fully automated factory that needs no human intervention at all is still a distant dream.  Continue reading Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

Uber’s autonomous truck journey off to a bumpy start

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An autonomous trucking start-up Otto vehicle is shown during an announcing event in Concord, California, US on August 4, 2016. Reuters / Alexandria Sage

By Heather Somerville and Julia Love, Reuters

Uber Technologies’ drive to become a major player in the trucking business is off to a bumpy start, with analysts and industry executives questioning what exactly the company can bring to the sprawling $700-billion industry.

The San Francisco ride-services giant had planned to disrupt freight hauling by offering a complete package of trucking technology including self-driving trucks and smartphone-based logistics services.

But what has emerged so far, industry watchers say, is a modest effort to build a brokerage service connecting truckers looking for loads to shippers with cargo to haul.  Continue reading Uber’s autonomous truck journey off to a bumpy start

Clearpath Robotics raises $30 million to expand Otto self-driving logistics vehicle technology

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Funding from iNovia Capital, Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures and previous investors will expand new Otto Motors division

Clearpath Robotics, a leading provider of self-driving vehicle solutions, announced today the completion of a $30 million investment led by iNovia Capital with participation from Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, Eclipse Ventures, RRE Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.

Clearpath will use the funding to grow the company’s industrial division, Otto Motors. Clearpath launched Otto Motors in 2015 to focus on self-driving vehicles for material transport inside manufacturing and warehouse operations.

Matt Rendall, CEO and co-founder of Clearpath, says: “Factories operate like small indoor cities, complete with roads, traffic, intersections and pedestrians.

“Unlike city streets, a factory floor is a controlled environment, which makes it an ideal place to introduce self-driving vehicles at scale. Companies like Google, Tesla and Uber are still testing, whereas our self-driving vehicles are commercially available today.”  Continue reading Clearpath Robotics raises $30 million to expand Otto self-driving logistics vehicle technology

Clearpath to provide GE Healthcare repair center with self-driving vehicles

The Clearpath Otto logistics robot
The Clearpath Otto logistics robot

A fleet of Otto self-driving vehicles will automate just-in-time parts delivery within Milwaukee facility 

Clearpath, the developer of Otto – a self-driving vehicle designed for material transport, has been selected to automate just-in-time parts delivery in a GE Healthcare repair facility being expanded near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“The Otto fleet will optimize GE Healthcare’s just-in-time manufacturing process to help enable repair cells to operate at full capacity,” said Matt Rendall, chief executive officer at Clearpath Robotics.  Continue reading Clearpath to provide GE Healthcare repair center with self-driving vehicles

Clearpath Robotics adds small self-driving vehicle to its logistics product line

Clearpath’s new Otto 100 self-driving robot
Clearpath’s new Otto 100 self-driving robot

Company says new Otto 100 provides light-load material transport for today’s modern factories and warehouses 

Clearpath Robotics has expanded its Otto line of self-driving vehicles with Otto 100. The vehicle is designed for autonomous light-load material transport in factories and warehouses.

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“The Otto 100 takes the high quality and reliability of the Otto 1500 and puts those advanced capabilities into a smaller form factor,” said Matt Rendall, chief executive officer at Clearpath. “This enables new self-driving services in distribution, e-commerce, and manufacturing.”

The Otto 100 system delivers dynamic and efficient light-load transport in increasingly congested industrial operations. Traditional material handling systems require costly and rigid changes to infrastructure, often cannot adapt to a changing environment, and are not always safe for collaboration with warehouse personnel.  Continue reading Clearpath Robotics adds small self-driving vehicle to its logistics product line