As technology becomes more intelligent, accurate, and sophisticated, it can take up applications that are not just on a computer or a screen. With the progress made in AI, it has been possible to make many physical machines or robots smart enough to adapt them in agile and tricky environments.
Robots have now, not only taken the shape of humans but are able to think and make decisions like them. This advancement has been of great significance, especially during the pandemic, as we look to automate their tasks to avoid human involvement.
Sign up for your weekly dose of what's up in emerging technology.
Many robotic companies made great strides this year in terms of innovation, raising money or bringing timely applications that have made them relevant in the near future. Analytics India Magazine collates some of the top robotic companies to look forward to in 2021.
Recently sold by Softbank to Hyundai, Boston Dynamics has become a leading face in moving or agile robots. Famous for its dog robot, SPOT, BD’s robots have great agility to go in all the places to perform tasks in terrains inaccessible to humans and in unstructured environments. With Hyundai’s resources and markets now available to Boston Robotics, we might see its robots across more applications performing more sophisticated tasks. The company also plans to commercialise its robots for home use in the coming year or two.
Created as a healthcare assistant, Diligent’s Moxi robot helps hospitals run 24/7 while assisting the healthcare staff. It can help gather patient supplies, deliver lab samples, fetch items, distribute PPEs and deliver medication. Its relevance has gained great significance after the Coronavirus as it can reduce human intervention. Moxi is supposed to be socially intelligent with human-like features that can make eye-contact and provide a supporting arm. Recent studies have highlighted the significance of this for smooth Human-Robot interaction. With automation in healthcare gaining such a rapid pace after the pandemic and the rising significance of social intelligence in robots, Diligent’s applications become very relevant in the near future.
AMP Robotics applies computer vision to process millions of images to classify complex material for waste segregation. Neuron, the company’s trademark platform, applies deep learning to improve its identification and classification of material like paper, plastic, and metals using colour, size, shape, and other factors. Neuron is then used by a robot Cortex to segregate materials with an accuracy of 99%. AMP Robotics was named in the 2021 Global CleanTech 100 list by Cleantech Group that recognises innovative companies that are committed to delivering solutions to enhance the future.
Blue Ocean Robotics
Blue Ocean Robotics produces service robots that primarily focus on applications in the healthcare, hospitality, construction, and agriculture sectors. The company was given three awards this year. These robots have very relevant applications in the post-COVID world as well.
One of this is a UVD Robot that is used for disinfecting hospitals and won the 2020 IDEA Award and the prestigious Emerging Technology Award from the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in the field of robotics. The company got an EU contract to deploy 200 of these in European hospitals. The other, GoBe Robot, is a teleconferencing robot that, along with other robots, was awarded the Robot Product Leadership Award 2020 by Frost & Sullivan.
Another company making strides in agile humanoid robots is Agility Robotics. It recently launched its most flexible product, Digit, with an upper torso and four arms that can overcome limitations of the traditional robots. The robot has human-like capabilities that can make the Digit possible to work along-side us in offices, factories, or homes while navigating stairs, obstacles, and other unstructured terrains. It recently announced the raising of $20 million investment to deploy these robots in human spaces.
Autonomous robots have become very important as people want intelligent machines to enter places that humans can’t go. Exyn has developed several such autonomous robots, including a drone, ExynAI, that can enter mines or abandoned buildings without any human intervention or existing GPS. With scope for so many applications, these autonomous intelligent machines present in terms of the variety of data collection and performing tricky operations in precarious situations, Exyn thinks that the possibilities for their applications are endless. The company also recently raised an undisclosed amount according to the Crunchbase news.
Nuro AI is a team of AI professionals who are passionate about advanced robotics who have won many international competitions and launched international products. Their trademark product, Nuro, is an autonomous vehicle that is used by delivery companies. The car got the permit to deploy these vehicles last week from the Calfornia Department of Motor Vehicles in two countries. It is the first company to receive such a permit. Last month, it also received a new $500 million Series C funding, as it gets ready to deploy its vehicle on the streets in the new year.
Universal Robots has emerged in 2020 as a top Human Robot Collaboration (HRC) company and has several applications worldwide. The industry was using articulated and cartesian robots but in a cage for safety purposes. Universal Robots brought a concept for robots to work together with human beings for industrial tasks. Their integrator partnership approach developed several integrators and partners for many applications in diversified industrial fields. They are pioneers and leaders for transforming industrial robots to work with humans. As of now, they have started to sell these ‘cobots’ in large quantities as they have become more affordable and popular.