Collaborating Authors

Formant raises $18M to help companies manage fleets of robots


The robotics industry continues to grow as enterprises look to automate an increasing number of processes across their organizations. According to McKinsey, 88% of businesses plan to fold robotics automation into their infrastructure in the coming months. And companies based in North America ordered more than 31,000 robotics systems in 2020, bringing the industry's revenue to an estimated over $1.5 billion -- a testament to the segment's strength. There's a legitimate fear that robots could replace some of the work done by humans. A recent MIT study found that each robot added to the workforce has the effect of replacing 3.3 jobs, while Oxford Economics anticipates that robots will displace 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030. On the other hand, robots could work -- and are working -- together with humans to solve complex problems.

I 'walked' Boston Dynamics' robot dog around San Francisco


"Can I take a photo?" The Boston Dynamics robot dog known as Spot stood out. Others were annoyed and wary. Most, however, seemed excited to see the four-legged robot in person. That's what I noticed from more than 4,500 miles away from home in Lima, Peru, while remotely operating the quadruped as it scurried along a busy sidewalk in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.

Serve Food in Far-Away Restaurants--Right From Your Couch


David Tejeda helps deliver food and drinks to tables at a small restaurant in Dallas. Sometimes he lends a hand at a restaurant in Los Angeles too. Tejeda does all this from his home in Belmont, California, by tracking the movements and vital signs of robots that roam around each establishment, bringing dishes from kitchen to table, and carrying back dirty dishes. Sometimes he needs to help a lost robot reorient itself. "Sometimes it's human error, someone moving the robot or something," Tejeda says.

Who are the Visionary companies in robotics? See the 2020 SVR Industry Award winners


These Visionary companies have a big idea and are well on their way to achieving it, although it isn't always an easy road for any really innovative technology. In the case of Cruise, that meant testing self driving vehicles on the streets of San Francisco, one of the hardest driving environments in the world. Some of our Visionary Awards go to companies who are opening up new market applications for robotics, such as Built Robotics in construction, Dishcraft in food services, Embark in self-driving trucks, Iron Ox in urban agriculture and Zipline in drone delivery. Some are building tools or platforms that the entire robotics industry can benefit from, such as Agility Robotics, Covariant, Formant, RobustAI and Zoox. The companies in our Good Robot Awards also show that'technologies built for us, have to be built by us'.

Celebrating the good robots!


OAKLAND, California, Dec. 14, 2020 /Press Release/ -- Silicon Valley Robotics, the world's largest cluster of innovation in robotics, announces the inaugural'Good Robot' Industry Awards, celebrating the robotics, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will help us solve global challenges. These 52 companies and individuals have all contributed to innovation that will improve the quality of our lives, whether it's weed-free pesticide-free farming, like FarmWise or Iron Ox; supporting health workers and the elderly manage health care treatment regimes, like Catalia Health or Multiply Labs; or reimagining the logistics industry so that the transfer of physical goods becomes as efficient as the transfer of information, like Cruise, Embark, Matternet and Zipline. The categories Innovation, Vision and Commercialization represent the stages robotics companies go through, firstly with an innovative technology or product, then with a vision to change the world (and occasionally the investment to match), and finally with real evidence of customer traction. The criteria for our Commercialization Award is achieving $1 million in revenue, which is a huge milestone for a startup building a new invention. Tessa Lau, Founder and CEO of Dusty Robotics, an Innovation Awardee said "We're almost there. Dusty Robotics' FieldPrinter automates the painstaking, time-consuming process of marking building plans in the field, replacing a traditional process using measuring tape and chalk lines that hasn't changed in 5000 years. The company's vision of creating robot-powered tools for the modern construction workforce resonates strongly with commercial construction companies. Dusty's robot fleet is now in production, producing highly accurate layouts in record time on every floor of two multi-family residential towers going up in San Francisco. The SVR'Good Robot' Industry Awards also highlight diverse robotics companies. In our Visionary Category, Zoox is the first billion dollar company led by an African-American woman, Aicha Evans, and Robust AI shows diversity at every level of the organization. Diversity of thought will be critical as Robust AI tackles the challenge of building a cognitive engine for robotics that incorporates common sense reasoning. "Robotics and AI will shape the next century in the same way the Industrial revolution shaped the 20th century.