As the year 2021 draws to a close, delivery robotics has come out tops in the investment sector. This is one of the most trending technologies and is set to take the world by storm.
Matthew Johnson-Roberson is the new director of CMU’s Robotics’ Institute. He has served as co-director for the University of Michigan’s Ford Centre for Autonomous Vehicles. Roberson is also a co-founder of Refraction AI.
Delivery robotics, a category of robots has seen biggest investment in the year 2021
On asked about defining robotics/AI/automation trend of 2021, Rob Playter, the long-time Boston Dynamics executive who was appointed CEO in the last year and Johnson-Roberson had their different opinions.
Roberson says, “I’m seeing increasing trends in application-specific AI companies (computer vision tasks, robotics devices to solve a problem, chat bots for x, etc.). Those seem poised to continue as the market looks for good fits for increasingly powerful algorithms.”
Whereas Rob Playter says that Legged robots coming of age “2021 saw the introduction of multiple legged robots to the market. We’ve seen strong interest for Spot around industrial use cases where mobile robots can navigate worksites that include stairs, doors and other obstacles that would foil wheeled or tracked robots.”
Other question asked was What will 2022 bring for these categories?
Roberson said that he expects more of the large self-driving companies to continue their consolidation and more to go public, in the coming years. As they are all prepared to burn capital attempting to expand and serve customers.
Where according to Rob Playter, 2022 will bring Operational adoption for these categories. In 2022 customers will begin to deploy mobile robots like Spot at greater scale. To do so, we also need to see greater reliability from the industry as a whole. He also said as more and more businesses look to invest in real-world technology, the most reliable, robust, and accessible products will prevail.
While we talk about delivery robotics, we should know the accomplishment of the different robotics companies this year.
Nuro is an American robotics company founded by Jiajun Zhu. The company is known for developing autonomous delivery vehicles. It was the first company to get an autonomous exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Its vehicles goods are designed to carry good rather than carrying humans.
Nuro has raised $600 million in a fund-raising round. The round was led by Tiger Global Management. The $600 million series has lifted the company’s valuation north of 70% to $8.6 billion.
UCLA spinout Coco is a Los Angeles robot start-up. It saw a very decent size round this year with a $36 million raise. This brought company’s funding up to $43 million. CEO Zach Rash and co-founder believes it to be the time fort delivery technologies.
He said, “I strongly believe the delivery service industry in its current state is massively under-serving merchants. We have an enormous opportunity to create a better experience for hundreds of thousands of merchants and their customers, today. This is not a research program experimenting with technology to be productized at some unknown point in the future.”
Starship is a company building network of robots. This year turned out to be luck for the company as it had a raise of $17 million. The company aims to deliver food to the campuses using robotic delivery services.
It is a self-driving truck start-up. In this year, Kodiak Robotics raised $125 million, with plans to double the headcount.
Similarly, Swedish firm Einride raised $110 million with the aim to expand in the US.
As we talk about the robotics news of the week, $13 million series A comes courtesy of Serve Robotics. This spun out from Uber’s Postmates this year. “Our goal is to put robots in every major U.S. city in the next two to three years,” co-founder Ali Kashani said of the company’s grand ambitions.