Ottonomy Inc. today said it has closed its $3.3 million seed funding round and announced Ottobot 2.0, the latest version of its autonomous delivery robot. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company said it plans to scale up its deployments of Ottobot in airports, retail stores, and restaurants.
“The team and I have been deeply vested into autonomous driving for more than a decade,” stated Ritukar Vijay, co-founder and CEO of Ottonomy.IO. “We believe fully autonomous delivery robots are not only a precursor to autonomous vehicle proliferation, but are [also] solving today’s biggest challenges like the labor shortage, enabling staff to do more with less.”
“Introducing Ottobot 2.0, we are bringing best-in-class maneuverability, accessibility, and modularity to our fully autonomous robots, which sets us ahead of our competition,” he added.
Vijay, Pradyot Korupolu, Ashish Gupta, and Hardik Sharma founded Ottonomy in 2020. The company said its primary focus is on helping organizations in different industries to automate indoor and outdoor contactless deliveries.
The “deep tech” startup won the Business Intelligence Group's Sustainability Product of the Year Award for 2021. Ottonomy also showed its robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) offerings at AUVSI Xponential in April 2022.
Ottonomy designs Ottobot 2.0 to be modular
Earlier this year, Ottonomy claimed that its Ottobots were the world's first autonomous mobile robots to deliver food, beverages, and travel retail items at airports. The company said it received positive responses from customers at Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), and it began partnerships with several airports across the U.S. and Europe.
In addition to expanding its curbside and last-mile delivery technologies, Ottonomy is involved with Fortune 500 corporations in the retail and restaurant industry across North America for wide adoption.
The company said it has successfully completed pilots at the Newlab 5G Studio in New York using Verizon's 5G networks. Ottonomy added that the leap in capabilities will enable it to deploy large fleets and increase its footprint across North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Ottobot 2.0 evolved from early pilots to include fully customizable modular cabins, suitable for grocery deliveries, food and beverages, and e-commerce packages. They can be insulated to maintain hot or cold temperatures and configured with multiple compartments.
Ottonomy also designed the robot to be accessible by adults, children, the elderly, and people with special abilities or wheelchairs. It also includes contactless human-robot interaction for security and no-touch deliveries, unlike traditional personal identification code (PIN) access.
The Contextual Navigation Engine lets Ottobot 2.0 navigate fully autonomously in unpredictable environments both indoors or outdoors, said the company. It fuses data from 3D lidar sensors, multiple cameras, and three layers of safety sensors to ensure maximum operational uptime, daytime and nighttime operations, and fast charging, claimed Ottonomy.
In addition, the robot's four-wheel drive give it directional mobility, including four-wheel drive “crab mode.” This allows Ottobot 2.0 to maneuver in tight spaces and make zero-radius turns by moving sideways, Ottonomy said.
Venture capital firms invest in deep tech
Ottonomy said its seed round brings its total funding to date to $4.9 million. pi Ventures, which backs deep-tech startups, led the round.
“Last-mile delivery is the least productive yet the most expensive part of the delivery chain, said Roopan Aulakh, managing director at pi Ventures. “There is a strong need for automation, which Ottonomy fulfills with Ottobots.”
“Ottobots are equipped with a sophisticated tech stack, both at the hardware and the AI level,” she said. “The founding team here brings years of multi-functional robotics experience, reflected in the world-class product that they have built and commercialized.”
Also joining Ottonomy's seed round were Connetic Ventures and Branded Hospitality Ventures, as well as Sangeet Kumar, the founder and CEO of Addverb Technologies. Ottonomy noted that its investors include a dynamic mix from retail, food, and robotics industry investors for its seed round.
“The progress we have seen from Ottonomy since our first investment is amazing and prompted us to continue supporting them, as they are truly innovating curbside delivery through their revolutionary technology capabilities,” said Kyle Schotman, co-founder and managing director of Connetic Ventures. “Their early success in the retail channel—be that curbside delivery or gate delivery at an airport—has been promising, and they are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved.”
“Robots are transforming the food service industry to help restaurants operate more efficiently,” added Michael “Schatzy” Schatzberg, co-founder and managing partner of Branded Hospitality Ventures. “Technology has revolutionized the manufacturing industry.”
“Now, it’s translating that success into the restaurant industry on a broader scale,” he said. “As operators and investors, we are bullish on investing in robotics, such as Ottonomy, that streamline businesses in a way that cuts costs and maximizes output.”
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