In the news for this week, take a look at a robotic startup that’s braving the battlefield and still being successful, a tire-changing robot that completes an hour’s job in twenty-five minutes, a newly launched Canadian humanoid robot that’s at home in neighborhood retail, and two robot developers. Another Canadian took the prize in Fast Company’s best robot for 2023.
War zone robotics
It’s hard enough to invent and develop robotics under the best conditions, however, to do so in a war zone, especially in Ukraine these days, must be very scary, and dangerous at times.
Based in Kyiv God of Robotics (founded in 2018), having briefly left the capital in western Ukraine, is one of the few to return to the army and even bring their robots to market. Deus technology is centered on two types of logistics robots: tabletop sorting robots and rubber conveyors for transporting packages; the other, two AMR models for hauling heavy goods or mobile carts. That market, for now, consists of a pilot program with Ukraine’s largest private postal operator, Nova Poshta.
“Deus Robotics’ ability to adapt and thrive in difficult circumstances is a testament to the company’s strong leadership and innovative technologies,” said Vlad Tislenko, partner in the VC group which saw Deus $1.5 million in seed funding.
The 40 sorting robots working at the Nova Poshta mail center have produced a “200% increase in parcel processing speed compared to a manual warehouse workflow.”
The next step for Deus is to launch a US sales office which it hopes will connect with high-profile users, allowing the new company to expand manufacturing operations and scale.
In front of them, says Tislenko, is a profitable logistics market for robotics is currently estimated at $7.5 billion.
Robot & 25 minute tire change
Changing four tires on a passenger car can take an hour to complete, plus it’s usually a dirty and tiring job for the person doing the changes. Not so with the Detroit-based one courtesy of RobotTire an automatic tire changer that takes about 25 minutes to do the same job.
RoboTire, in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric Industrial Robots (also an investor; and also, surprise! automaker), in 2020, installed its first tire changer in one place in Tire Discounts (also an investor) Fountain Hills store in Arizona. 60 year old Discount Tire owns more than 1,100 tire shops nationwide. “About two weeks ago, Detroit-based automation company RoboTire implemented its technology in Arlington, Texas, marks its second partnership with the retailer.
“When a car stops on the green platform at the Discount Tire store in Arlington, two robotic arms scan the car’s tires for their lugnuts, which are some of the bolts used to secure the wheels,” said Ben Wilson, a company spokesman.
“However, before the robot is used, technicians use a hand-held scanner to get the car’s VIN number so the robot can learn the exact specifications of the vehicle.”
After the robot removes the bolts and places the old tires on the mat, the green light is on, indicating it is safe to re-enter the floor. A technician then puts pressure on the new tire and places it on a designated mat for the robot to attach, or rotate, to the car. This process repeats three more times for the car.
In 2021, the US’s overall shipment of tires for passenger car replacement was 222 million tires. With Discount Tire’s annual revenue more than $5.2 billion, some of its 25,000 employees may see a robot replacement in the near future. The future of RoboTire looks better than bright!
Day in the life of a humanoid robot doing retail
If you prefer the personal touch from robots, then based in Vancouver SanctuaryAI a new humanoid robot may be a useful option.
As the company’s website says of its mission: “Join us on our mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in an all-purpose robot.”
It is the first of its kind, and they are very proud: “Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporation (Sanctuary AI), a company with a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots, today announced that it has successfully completed the implementation of a unique system the first designed to deliver the world’s first human-like intelligence in an all-purpose robot at a customer’s commercial facility through its partnership with Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC).”
On March 7, 2023, the gifted humanoid begins week-long trial at Mark’s retail store in Langley, British Columbia, Canada (no employee numbers and still no names!).
Mark actually offers a real retail store experience, and the robot, which is given 110 retail related tasks, completes them all successfully. These tasks include front and back store activities such as picking and packing merchandise, cleaning, marking, labeling, folding, and many other retail functions normally performed by humans.
SanctuaryAI is made up of team members from some of the top tech companies with the perfect DNA for robotics: Sanctuary team members founded D-Wave (a pioneer in the quantum computing industry), other engineers were from Kindred, and many more from the Creative Destruction Lab. Everyone has experience
“Many organizations face workforce challenges. Our population is aging, birth rates are declining, and workers have more choices for what they do and where they work than ever before in history,” he said. Geordie Rose, co-founder and CEO, SanctuaryAI. “Through our partnership with the Canadian Tire Corporation, we seek to analyze how their jobs are done and what jobs people like and dislike, both in their retail environment and their distribution centers.
A human-like AI driving world’s first human-like intelligence in an all-purpose robot an all-purpose robot should be able to do physical work in nearly every industry. A brand-new category that according to Goldman Sachs has the potential to become a finite market $154 billion by 2035.
And the company has believers who have raised $58.5 million to help build the “world’s first human-like intelligence in an all-purpose robot.”
Canada is on the robotics trend for 2023
While SanctuaryAI Vancouver does robotics first and gets great acclaim for it, Fast Company annual 10 Most Innovative Robotics Companies in 2023 out and housed more Canadian robotics developers, from Kitchener (Ontario) and Calgary (Alberta) respectively.
Founded in 2015, based in Calgary, Alberta Attabotik build dense vertical storage structure that utilizes robots and AI to search and pick up items. All account for nearly 15% of standard warehouse space.
Attabotik isFast CompanyMost Innovative Company of 2020 for its robotic system inspired by the structure of ant colonies; in September 2022. In September, the company announcedAtbots 2022, the first commercial version of the technology; and in 2022 also secures a $71 million investment to develop its vertical robot warehouse solution. One month later, in October 2022, Attabotics won a contract with the Department of Defense to provide its system for a prototype warehouse of the Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, Georgia.
Named in Fast Enterprise Top Ten: For bringing location-aware intelligence to factory robots.
Otto Motorwrites Fast Company, “has found a market in warehouses by providing robots, including self-driving forklifts, that are smart enough to elude human employees and other robots.”
Otto is a division of Kitchener, based in Ontario Clearpath Robotics. The Otto Lifter, introduced in March 2022, is a self-driving forklift.
Responsible for up to 10% of workplace injuries, traditional forklifts present a clear worker hazard. The Otto Lifter offers features such as dynamic path planning, pallet detection and lane maintenance while being able to lift 2,640 pounds and reach up to two and a half feet when in autonomous mode.