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Qualifying ‘Essential’ News
Each week the editors of Robotics Business Review (RBR) select those announcements judged to be the most important and impactful to the readers of RBR. Below are the selections for the interval ranging from March 5th – 12th, 2021.
Companies referenced include include notices from Nimble Robotics, Axon, Skydio, Bedrock Ocean Exploration, Refraction AI, ForSight Robotics, GreyOrange and Vicarious.
New York based Bedrock Ocean Exploration secured an US $ 8 Million Seed round to develop an autonomous, robotic, marine surveying platform. Investors included Eniac Ventures, Primary Venture Partners, Quiet Capitol, and R7 Partners. Bedrock’s solution includes an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is specifically engineered for marine geophysical surveys, along with cloud-native tools used to distribute, manage, and access survey data.
San Francisco based Nimble Robotics, a developer of robotic solutions for picking applications for fulfillment operations, received a $50 million Series A financing led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures with participation from Accel and Reinvent Capital, and others. According to Nimble representatives, the funding will be used to hire additional employees, further development of the Nimble solutions set, and scale robot deployment at customer sites. That company also announced that Fei-Fei Li, Professor Computer Science at Stanford University, Co-Director of Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), former Director of Stanford AI Lab (SAIL), former Chief Scientist of AI at Google Cloud, and creator of ImageNet has joined the Nimble board. Sebastian Thrun, Founder of GoogleX and Waymo (Google’s self-driving car division), co-founder of Udacity and CEO of Kitty Hawk, former Director of Stanford’s AI Lab (SAIL) also joined the Nimble board.
ForSight Robotics, a developer of a surgical robotic platform for ophthalmic surgery, closed a $10 million Seed round led by Eclipse Ventures and joined by Mithril Capital. The stealthy firm, which is led by a veteran team of leading surgeons and roboticists, is developing a specialized, high precision platform for ophthalmic microsurgery that exploits the latest advancements in robotics, machine learning, imaging, and visualization.
Axon, a provider of connected public safety technologies, and Skydio, the U.S. drone manufacturer, announced a strategic partnership to offer Skydio’s autonomous drones to law enforcement and emergency responders via Axon’s unmanned aircraft program, Axon Air. Axon will be the exclusive reseller and digital evidence management partner of Skydio’s products to public safety groups globally. In addition, the two companies are working on a joint product roadmap to seamlessly integration between Skydio drones and Axon Air, Axon Evidence, and Axon Respond.
Refraction AI, the developers of the REV-1 autonomous delivery robot, announced US $4.2 million in new seed funding led by Pillar VC . Other investors including eLab Ventures, Osage Venture Partners, Trucks Venture Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, Chad Laurans (founder of SimpliSafe), Invest Michigan, and others. The capital will be used for customer acquisition, geographic expansion and product development.
GreyOrange, a supplier of robots and software for fulfillment automation , announced a partnership with Vicarious, a robotics integrator specializing computer vision, AI / machine learning and robotics to automate complex tasks. Together the companies have launched an Autonomous Vertical Picking solution for automated pick-n-pack operations in omnichannel fulfillment. The companies have stated that their solution is an industry first. During the first step of the process, GreyOrange’s Ranger GTP robots bring goods to pick-pack stations. Once there, the Autonomous Vertical Picking solution perceives the size, shape and material characteristics of inventory items, and then applies the appropriate motion to grasp and place retrieved items into order boxes.