From the News Desk: Catching Up on Robot News
September 13, 2019      

As the Robotics Business Review team prepares for RoboBusiness 2019, we’ve been a bit lax in clearing out the old in-box in terms of robot news that interest us. Normally, I’d write up longer pieces, but in a bit of early fall cleanup, I’m going to give short updates on some things, in handy bullet-list format. Yay!

  • Avidbots brings floor-scrubbing robots to U.S. hospitals, DH warehouses: During my recent trip to Canada, I saw an Avidbots floor-scrubbing robot cleaning the floor in the Montreal airport. I didn’t have time to get a photo or video, as the plane was boarding, but it was interesting to see an autonomous robot in the wild, so to speak. The company recently announced it partnered up with HHS, which provides support services to healthcare, resort, senior living, aviation, education and government industries. Avidbots will deploy seven robots to HHS for use in acute care hospitals across the U.S. with plans to adopt in more hospitals over the coming months. In addition, Avidbots announced it would be working with DHL Supply Chain to deploy its Neo robots in select warehouses across North America.
  • European group seeks robotics projects: The EU-funded robotics project ESMERA (European SMEs Robotics Application) has opened its second call for projects. From now until Dec. 2, European SMEs can apply solve challenges in manufacturing, energy, construction, agriculture, food processing, retail, healthcare and emergency response through the use of robotics applications. Projects can receive funding of up to €200,000 ($221,959) from the group. To learn more, click here.
  • NASA announces urban air mobility challenge: Flying around in unmanned passenger aircraft may happen in our lifetime. NASA recently launched its Urban Air Mobility Grand Challenge, which looks to gain knowledge and promote public confidence in advanced air mobility systems, and help organizations to learn what it takes to operate air vehicles safely in urban environments. The initial grand challenge will occur in 2022, followed by a full grand challenge that involves more participants. Learn more here.
news desk roundup Daimler trucks Torc Robotics

Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are testing automated trucks on public roads in Virginia. Image: Daimler Trucks

  • Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics test automated trucks on public roads: The companies are actively developing and testing autonomous trucks with the SAE Level 4 autonomy. Initially the routes are on highways in southwest Virginia (near Torc headquarters in Blacksburg), and the automated runs will include an engineer overseeing the system and a safety driver certified by both companies.

Even more robot news

  • Liquid Roboitcs launches newest Wave Glider: The latest version of the company’s long-duration unmanned surface vehicles includes a 6x increase in computing power (thanks to an NVIDIA Tegra chip), higher-power solar panels, simplified pre-launch operations, and more. The systems are designed to help assess, monitor, and protect the ocean, aimed at defense, commercial, and scientific customers.

Image: Kia

  • Georgia city opens Curiosity Lab: If you’re ever near Peachtree Corners, Ga., check out their new Curiosity Lab, which is “the nation’s first intelligent mobility and smart city living laboratory.” The company announced it would showcase IoT applications and technologies, including autonomous vehicles (Local Motors’ Olli and an autonomous Kia HabaNiro concept car), autonomous drones (Autodyne and Valqari), a teleoperated scooter (Tortoise), SoftBank’s Pepper, and an autonomous commercial lawnmower (Greenzie).

Silent Arrow GD-2000 Undergoing Flight Testing, Pendleton UAS Test Range, Pendleton Oregon USA

  • 1-Ton cargo delivery drone in London: Yates Electrospace Corp. unveiled its Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone, an autonomous cargo aircraft that can deliver up to 1,631 pounds (740 kg) of supplies “with more than double the glide ratio, dramatically improved landing accuracy, zero vertical impact force, and with far greater stealth.” The company said it addresses the tactical resupply and humanitarian/disaster relief markets.
  • Verizon deploys 5G at University of Michigan’s MCity: The company announced that its 5G Ultra Wideband network is live at the Mcity Test Facility, where researchers are testing autonomous vehicles and smart city applications. This includes installing 5G-connected cameras at every intersection inside the Mcity test track to identify traffic and pedestrian patterns to prevent collisions.
  • Pfizer, Catalia Health launch pilot for Mabu robot: The program will explore patient behaviors outside of clinical environments to test the impact of regular engagement with a robot has on patients’ treatment journeys. The 12-month pilot will use the Mabu Wellness Coach, a robot that uses AI to gather insights into symptom management and medication adherence trends.

Image: Syrius Robotics

  • Syrius launches warehouse robotics for Southeast Asian market: The Shenzhen, China-based company showed off its FlexComet SL-50 autonomous mobile robot at this week’s Supply Chain Asia event, held in Singapore. Along with its FlexGalaxy Intelligent Warehouse System, the company aims to provide alternatives to companies that are using AGVs but finding deployments taking too long.

OK, you’re now all caught up on your robot news for the week! Have a great weekend!