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sarcos guardian exoskeleton

Caterpillar, GE and Microsoft invest in Sarcos Robotics exoskeleton

sarcos guardian exoskeleton

Sarcos Robotics says its Guardian exoskeleton (pictured) will be capable of lifting hundreds of pounds when it is commercially available

Sarcos Robotics, a developer of dexterous industrial robots for use in unstructured environments, has secured $10.5 million in funding from a group of top-tier strategic investors including Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, and Microsoft.

Additionally, Cottonwood Technology Fund and two other private investment firms, together with the company’s three co-founders, Ben Wolff, Dr Fraser Smith and Dr Marc Olivier, invested in the financing round.

The company says the infusion of capital will be used to expand the Sarcos team and to accelerate the production and deployment of Sarcos’ Guardian line of robots that are significantly reducing the risk of injury and the cost of performing many of the world’s most dangerous and difficult tasks. 

Sarcos says the new robots are expected to make “critical contributions” in industries ranging from construction to manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, infrastructure inspection, logistics, public safety and military.

Commenting on the investment, Peter Klein, former CFO of Microsoft, Ray Quintana, General Partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund, Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of GE Ventures, and Seattle-area technology and telecom investor Dennis Weibling have joined the Sarcos board of directors. Other investment details were not disclosed.

Commenting on the investment, Sarcos Robotics’ CEO, Ben Wolff, says: “With more than 8 million people injured or killed on the job each year in the US alone, there is substantial demand for robots that can carry out challenging tasks that are too dangerous or difficult for humans.

“Our human-operated robots are designed to perform meaningful, highly dexterous work in real-world settings while keeping people out of harm’s way. We are thrilled to collaborate with Caterpillar, GE, Microsoft and our other new investors to enhance the capabilities and relevance of our robots and to accelerate delivery of our robots to key industrial sectors.”

Microsoft corporate vice-president, internet of things, Kevin Dallas, says: “Microsoft is committed to pioneering new, real world use-cases in Industrial IoT. We are excited about the collaboration with Sarcos and our customers around dexterous industrial robots for use in unstructured environments.

“Sarcos’ robot-as-a-service offering, using Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure IoT Suite, and Windows 10 IoT, creates a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the safety and efficiency of many industrial tasks around the world.”

Caterpillar Ventures’ managing director, Michael Young, says: “Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of equipment used to develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. We see opportunities for Sarcos’ robotic systems in each of these areas to make our customers’ operations safer and more productive.

“Caterpillar Ventures is pleased to facilitate the connection between Sarcos and our various business units at Caterpillar, and to provide Sarcos with growth capital. This will allow us to explore opportunities to utilize Sarcos’ advanced robotics expertise to enhance our product offerings to our customers and get the most from our combined expertise and technologies.”

Ralph Taylor-Smith, GE Ventures’ advanced manufacturing managing director, says: “At GE, advanced manufacturing and robotics are critical to the way we work. The development of dexterous robots for use in unforgiving and unstructured environments is one of the most challenging areas in robotics today.

“Sarcos is successfully tackling these challenges head on and is working with leading robotics experts from GE. We believe the Sarcos team and its technologies have a bright future. We look forward to working together both as a customer and a technology partner.”