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

Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

A combination of higher wages in Asian countries and a trend for bringing back manufacturing to the US could dismantle large parts of Asian economies, many of which depend on the textiles and clothes manufacturing trades for huge portion of their national income. 

An interesting video report by the Financial Times points to this possible future, but adds that in practice, for now, “almost all of the world’s T-shirts and jeans by millions of cheap workers, mostly women, watching over sewing machines”.

And beyond T-shirts and jeans, the vast majority of jobs and tasks in the clothes manufacturing sector in general is still done by humans.  Continue reading Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

bharati agv crop
The Bharati autonomous guided vehicle for materials transport

Bharati Robotics Systems has been showing off its new autonomous industrial floor cleaning robots. 

The company says the small vehicle saves labour costs and increases productivity by up to 200 per cent, and cleans the floor better than humans, or the “highest quality of cleaning”.

The robot’s battery lasts up to four hours on one charge and it has a smartphone interface through which it can be monitored and controlled.  Continue reading Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

Effects of artificial intelligence will surpass the industrial revolution, says SoftBank CEO

The chief executive of telecommunications giant SoftBank says the effects of artificial intelligence will take the world much further and have a more profound effect than even the industrial revolution. 

Masayoshi_Son
An old picture of Masayoshi Son, courtesy of Wikipedia

In an article accompanying a special edition of the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was quoted as saying the new “information revolution” is being partly driven by data collected through billions of sensors.

SoftBank has been buying up a variety of AI and robotics startups, most recently a company called Nauto, which is developing systems for driverless cars.

At the root of the technology, Son says, are microprocessors and microcontrollers. “Those who rule chips will rule the entire world,” he said. “Those who rule data will rule the entire world. That’s what people of the future will say.”

Rethink Robotics signs up nine new distribution partners in Europe and the US

rethink-robotics-baxter

Rethink Robotics has signed deals with nine distribution partners throughout the United States and Europe to extend the availability of its smart, collaborative robots.

With an extensive network throughout the world – including partners in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico and Australia – these distribution deals are part of Rethink’s efforts to meet growing demand across the globe, bringing flexible automation to the global manufacturing market.

With the launch of the Intera 5 software platform and ClickSmart family of gripper kits earlier this year, Rethink says it now offers a complete range of products and services to “help manufacturers around the world improve productivity“.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics signs up nine new distribution partners in Europe and the US

Gardening robot raises more than $300,000 on Kickstarter

franklin weed-killing robot 2

A gardening robot has raised more than $312,000 on Kickstarter despite its owners setting a goal of $120,000.

Led by the inventor of the Roomba, the Boston-based Franklin Robotics is currently raising funds for their first release – a solar-powered, robotic weed-killer for home gardens.

Named Tertill, the 2.5-pound, disk-shaped robot patrols the garden and intelligently identifies – and whacks – unwanted plants.  Continue reading Gardening robot raises more than $300,000 on Kickstarter

ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

aethon logistics robot

Singapore Technologies Engineering has acquired Aethon and its autonomous mobile robot, TUG, usually seen performing some logistical task or other. 

ST Engineering is a $5 billion engineering firm with global operations and strong expertise in mobile robotics.

The value of the deal was not made public.

Aethon will become a division of ST Engineering’s US headquarters, VT Systems and will be part of the group’s land systems sector which is led by ST Kinetics, which is focused on robot technology innovation.  Continue reading ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

CaliBurger’s ‘Flippy’ robot gets $3 million to flip burgers

A burger-flipping robot developed by Cali Group and Miso Robotics has received $3.1 million in financing from strategic investors including Acacia Research and Match Robotics. 

Miso was co-founded and funded by Cali Group, which owns the Caliburger chain of fast food restaurants across the US. The company is currently specialising in automation for the catering industry.

The burger-flipping robot has been named “Flippy”, appropriately enough, and was the first robotic product developed by Miso, and the company has since developed numerous automation applications for the robot, including preparation, grilling, frying, and so on.  Continue reading CaliBurger’s ‘Flippy’ robot gets $3 million to flip burgers

Toyota showcases its new advanced autonomous car platform to Boston robotics community

Boston has become one of the main centres for robotics technologies in recent years, with many well-known companies emerging from the area. 

Perhaps with this in mind, the Toyota Research Institute decided to showcase its latest developments in autonomous vehicle technology, something it’s calling “Platform 2.0” – basically, its new driverless car – to attendees at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference at MIT.

“This is the first time that we are showing the car off to the Boston-area robotics community,” said a spokesman for TRI. “This new advanced safety research vehicle is the first autonomous testing platform developed entirely by TRI, and reflects the rapid progress of our autonomous driving program.”  Continue reading Toyota showcases its new advanced autonomous car platform to Boston robotics community