May 28, 2022

old mail The inbox is brimming with agtech presentations, and apparently after picking up the last two newsletters, I have only myself to blame (hey, it happened again, right?) How did this all start? I blame the fact that spring officially started at exactly 11:33 pm ET in my home hemisphere. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and we are all thinking about how we can use robots to handle it all.

There’s also the (perhaps related) fact that the World Agritech Innovation Summit started this week in San Francisco, which is at least partly due to areas that fill the air like pollen. It’s not that I’m irritated or anything (if I feel like it, that’s literally the pollen that now covers almost half of my brain). It also gives an interesting insight into the main trends in this category.

I have already mentioned that so far, AgTech Robotics has not achieved the level of adoption that many predicted, and it is still being observed. But it’s not for lack of trying. Currently, the most important study in this category is monitoring crops for potential problems. I often cite the statistics that the average age of a farmer in the US is 57.5 years, and in Japan it is about ten years older. Here in the United States, the age has increased by nearly four decades.

I mention this because farming can be extremely hard work, and in an age where many people are wondering (at least in theory) what their retirement will look like, they hit the field in the morning. Traditional shooting monopolizes many tedious hours during the day. And if you don’t do it right, problem areas are hard to spot before they become a real problem.

image credit: Gromark/Solinftek

The four main approaches I have seen are satellite imagery, IoT devices, drone surveillance and robotics, such as this anonymous device from Gromark and Solinftech. The survey will be an important first step towards introducing robots to the fields, although a more attractive model that combines functionality with other tasks, whether it be fruit picking, weeding or plowing. Since most of this equipment is actually rented from companies, I think farmers want to get the most bang for their buck.

Okay, enough talking about farmers this week. Let’s talk a little about the future of ubiquitous robots. Late last year, I spoke with CMU’s new director of robotics about his new role. He ended the interview with me by saying, “If you go to a factory or anywhere else, you will see a robot. You can have a robot vacuum, but I want you to be able to use your window. And see the robot. ,

Let’s be extremely literal for a moment and discuss Skyline Robotics (not to be confused with the weird regional chile of the same name). As I mentioned in a recent article, I would put window cleaning at the top of my list of tasks to automate. Until I saw this this week, I assumed you might be scratching your head looking at the relative danger of such a profession, but the numbers I’ve seen don’t really reflect that.

Statistically speaking, it might not be the most dangerous job in the world, but it’s probably one of the most torturous, hanging from a platform in the air hundreds of feet above street level. Late last year, Skyline inked and showed off its Ozmo system, which basically consists of two Kooka robotic arms on a suspended platform. A $6.5 million funding round was announced yesterday, bringing total revenue to $9 million.

CEO Michael Brown said, “This successful funding round and the first implementation of Ozmo demonstrate that the demand for our products and services is not only tangible and felt by investors, but represents a significant business opportunity for Skyline.” “The credibility of our team matches that of the investment community.”

image credit: otto

Speaking of dangerous work, as I mentioned last week, forklifts can be deceptively dangerous. Of course, many companies are looking to automate this process, including OTTO in Ontario. A Canadian company this week announced the release of its new OTTO Lifter stand-alone pallet mover.

Andrew Job, founder and CEO of Plotlogic. Photo / Photo Pitch by Sarah Keyes

Meanwhile, Devin had a story for Plotlogic that raised $18 million. A Brisbane-based startup is using hyperspectral imaging to search for elements in the soil that are difficult to detect.

CEO Andrew Job says:

We see three types of benefits: financial, environmental sustainability and security. The company can process more ore and less waste, making it more profitable. They could be more accurate, leave more rocks in place, and avoid the use of fuel and greenhouse gases to move waste. Finally, it reduces the risk to people in the mine.

image credit: NVIDIA

This week at GTC, Nvidia continued its advancement in the world of robotics development with the introduction of the Jetson AGX Orin. The $2,000 developer kit provides a much larger boost in processing power than its predecessor. Production units meanwhile fall into the fourth quarter.

With automation set to revolutionize the $10 trillion construction industry in the coming years, Rugged Robotics is aiming to become more automated. The company has announced that it intends to make its field printers completely self-contained for possible 24/7 use. The system prints a building plan on the floor to give workers an idea of ​​where to build.

The company raised $9.4 million this week after a $2.5 million round in 2019. CEO Derrick Morse said: “We wanted to modernize the construction industry and create practical solutions that address the pain points that contractors face every day.” “We believe that furniture is the ideal starting point. Planning is the springboard for building automation. It sits at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds, solving a major problem and opening up the possibility of a very meaningful deployment of robotics in the workplace.”

Oh and hey before I leave you for a week happy 10th anniversary open robotics. I still don’t know what to give to the Robot OS maintainer who has everything, so it will take up some space in the column.

image credit: Bryce Durbin / gaming-updates

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