Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

Minimum wage increases lead to more investment in robotics and automation systems, according to a new study.

The report, People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs, analysed the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data from 1980 to 2015.

The paper was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and authored by Grace Lordan and David Neumark.  Continue reading Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

Mouser Electronics to distribute Robotis components

Mouser Electronics has reached a global agreement with Robotis to distribute the company’s components, which include a range of controllers, servo motors, industrial actuators, and open-source development boards. 

The Robotis portfolio is now available from Mouser Electronics, although it’s not clear whether complete versions of the company’s humanoid robots and its TurtleBot will be sold through Mouser.

Robotis’ OpenCM9.04 open-source controllers run on an STMicroelectronics STM32 F1 microcontroller with a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 core.  Continue reading Mouser Electronics to distribute Robotis components

Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

By John Hayes, Vecna Robotics

There is a frequent complaint of Industry 4.0, Big Data, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Too much data, little of which can be accessed and used effectively.

From tuggers, automated guided carts, and automated guided vehicles, there is a real need to include IIoT monitoring which defines the next phase of automation and robotics in materials handling.

Without IIoT monitoring, plant managers, operations managers, logistics coordinators throughout manufacturing and distribution sectors lack the data collected which offers real-time continuous status and health information.  Continue reading Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

ROBO, believed to be the first robotics and automation exchange traded fund, has reached a new milestone in terms of its assets under management.

Index provider ROBO Global, which has holdings in more than 100 listed companies, says investors have embraced its dedicated focus on robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.

The ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF recently surpassed $1 billion in assets under management, and its managers say it has achieved the psychologically significant benchmark less than four years after launching.  Continue reading Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

It’s not a glamorous business, logistics. Doesn’t make the mainstream news very often. And it’s not likely to be the top career choice for most people. 

It’s understandable. After all, how interesting can it be to move boxes from point A to point B?

Put like that, it’s not much to write home about. But now, with driverless vehicles everywhere, augmented reality glasses and exoskeletons for warehouse workers, and robotics and automation technologies of all kinds promising to transform the industry worldwide, logistics is about to get much more interesting.  Continue reading DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

DHL has invested in four new Sawyer robots in order to evaluate the solution as part of its robotics research and development programme.

The company describes the purchase of the Sawyer robots as “the first step” in its robotics deployment journey.

DHL says the collaborative robots will be flexibly used across its 19 contract packing, or “co-packing”, and production logistics centres across the UK and Ireland region.  Continue reading DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

Investments will focus on applied science and technologies that advance machine perception and unlock the next-generation of smart robotics

Rewired has launched a robotics venture studio and fund. To start with, the company is investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception. 

Rewired says its initial proposition is that improving machine perception will unlock the next generation of smart robotics.

To that end, the company is focusing on the sensors, software, and systems that help autonomous machines to interact with unpredictable environments and collaborate with humans.  Continue reading Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

Interview: Leading robotics and automation fund manager planning to launch new investment vehicle

The news that investments in robotics and automation companies have out-performed all other investments on the stock market will only add to the allure of this sector. 

Fuelled by a renewed fascination and technological advancement in artificial intelligence, investors are enthusiastically looking for funds and companies in which to put their money.

There’s very few investments in life or in history that can offer get-rich-quick returns, but certainly a wise investor could make substantial returns if they are careful with their money.  Continue reading Interview: Leading robotics and automation fund manager planning to launch new investment vehicle

Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Specialist robotic spacecraft developer will maintain its course through the galaxy, say new owners

Honeybee Robotics has been acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Honeybee builds robotic spacecraft for Nasa and has delivered systems for the past three Mars landers, and is developing a mining robot which could extract precious resources from asteroids.

Following the acquisition, Honeybee Robotics will be a stand-alone, wholly-owned subsidiary of EBI and will complement EBI’s current aerospace and defense subsidiary, Eba-d.

Honeybee will continue to operate from its current facilities in Brooklyn, New York, Longmont, Colorado, and Pasadena, California.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75 billion market by 2027, according to a new report, which adds that it will be more than double by 2038. 

These staggering headline figures mask turbulent transformative change underneath: some technologies will rise and transform the fortunes of industries, fuelling growth rates far outpacing recent trends, whilst others will face with decay and obsolescence.

“We are at the beginning of the beginning of a transformative change, and the time to plan is now,” says the report by IDTechEx Research.  Continue reading Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

AI and robotics stocks outperforming other shares on markets

Artificial intelligence and robotics stocks are performing better than many other investments on the stock market, according to a report on CNBC

The website says robotics and AI stocks are “crushing” the old economy and is up by 30 per cent compared with under 10 per cent for other stocks.

In particular, the Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) and the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index (ROBO) have done well.  Continue reading AI and robotics stocks outperforming other shares on markets

Schnucks grocery stores give Tally the robot some work to do checking the shelves

A mobile robot called Tally has got a job at Schnucks grocery stores, where it will wander round the aisles and make mental notes of what products are running low on stock and checking prices. 

Developed by Simbe Robotics, Tally is said to perform the tasks humans might find boring and time-consuming. It can do this while customers are shopping or after the stores close.

Simbe claims Tally is the “world’s first fully autonomous robotic shelf auditing and analytics solution for the retail industry”, and suggests the technology could save some of the $450 billion retailers lose annually through inefficiencies which Tally can help resolve.  Continue reading Schnucks grocery stores give Tally the robot some work to do checking the shelves

Smartphones have created a whole new world of opportunities, says Hillcrest Labs boss

Even for Apple, selling 60 million units of anything would be a big deal. For most small and medium sized companies, just six units might be the start of a wonderful voyage in the world of enterprise. 

For Hillcrest Labs, the journey started more than a decade ago, and over that time, the company has reached the milestone of having sold 60 million units.

Having started out selling software, the company moved into bundling that software into chips, which have become more elaborate over time and found an increasing number of applications.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Chad Lucien, senior vice president of business development at Hillcrest Labs, tells the company’s story.  Continue reading Smartphones have created a whole new world of opportunities, says Hillcrest Labs boss

Stanford boffins invent 4D camera to improve robotic vision and augmented and virtual reality specs

A team of researchers at Stanford have designed a 4D camera which could improve vision for applications in robotics and virtual and augmented reality technologies. 

The new vision technique could also be used in autonomous vehicles, add the researchers – Donald Dansereau, a postdoctoral fellow in electrical engineering, and Gordon Wetzstein, assistant professor of electrical engineering, and others.

The new camera Stanford has developed is a proof-of-concept and the university plans to start building a smaller prototype suitable for commercialisation in the coming months.  Continue reading Stanford boffins invent 4D camera to improve robotic vision and augmented and virtual reality specs

Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO

Industrial giant ABB is reporting a 3 per cent growth in total orders across its operation, but most of it seems to be coming from robotics. 

Net income was $525 million – for the second quarter ending July 6. Gross profit, however, was down 5 per cent, and was only $1 billion. Total revenues were up 1 per cent at almost $8.5 billion.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer says: “In Q2, ABB continued to build its growth momentum as our targeted initiatives are delivering. Order growth was broad-based and across all regions.

“Our industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, is taking off and starting to contribute to growth.

“Operational performance in the power grids and industrial automation divisions was solid in the quarter. Electrification products and robotics and motion improved margins sequentially, but were not able to fully compensate commodity price headwinds and overcapacity during the quarter.  Continue reading Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO