Welcome to the inaugural Robot Remix news bulletin. Every week we'll share a summary of the week's need-to-know robotics and automation news.
In today's email -
- Amazon is investing in the future of supply chains.
- Recycling automation & its impact.
- Tesla's bold robotics claims.
- Fancy being recused by robot rats?
The Big Idea
Amazon Launches $1 Billion Industrial Fund
Last week Amazon announced that they are creating the "Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund (AIIF)", a $1 billion fund to invest in logistics and supply-chain start-ups. Amazon is no stranger to the space, having purchased several mobile robotics companies (Kiva Systems, Scout, Canvas) and invested heavily in last-mile drone delivery.
The AIIF represents a significant change in Amazon's automation strategy. They've seen considerable success with Kiva and now seem to be expanding past automated transportation into a far more diverse set of technologies and challenges. So far, five investments have been announced, covering -
- Bipedal walking robots - Agility Robotics
- Machine vision augmented inventory management - Vimaan
- Injury preventing wearables - Modjoul
- Flexible floor to ceiling picking AGVS - BionicHIVE
- "Fenceless" industrial robots - Mantis Robotics
Their broad thesis, global outlook and stage agnosticism make them an attractive target for any Industry 4.0 start-ups reading this post. Although, STIQ brought up an interesting concern in a recent blog post -
"Why would anyone use a company that has Amazon as a backer?"
Their concern is that Amazon is likely investing with a view to acquiring. Amazon has a history of removing its acquisitions from the market, leaving past customers in a bit of a pickle.
We will be exploring how this fund fits into Amazon's overall automation strategy in an upcoming report. To make sure you don't miss out, sign up below.
Start-up spotlight - Continuing on the topic of recycling, Glacier has emerged from Stealth Mode, raising $4.5 million. Their low-cost & easy to integrate waste sortation system claims to have a one year payback period for recycling plants. They join companies including ZenRobotics, AMP Robotics and Recycleye. Send us an email if you would like us to do a deep dive on recycling robots.
Tesla's big claims - In a recent earnings call, Musk made some bold automation claims. He stated that robotaxi would be produced in mass volumes by 2024 and predicted their humanoid robot would be launching in 2023 would be worth more than Tesla's car business. Seems optimistic but to learn more about Tesla's use of robotics, check out our report coming in 2 weeks.
Rescued by robot rats - Scientists have designed a rat bot to go where rescuers can't- carrying medical supplies or finding people trapped in rubble. Impressive but did they need to make it look so rat-like?
Fabric folding Robots
German start-up Sewts has built a robot cell to automate the process of loading industrial laundry folding machines. Check out the video to see the impressive picking of fabrics from bulk!
The system combines the precision of 2D cameras with the depth capabilities of 3D cameras to identify the edges of fabric in a bulk container.