The inability to quickly, easily, and safely deploy industrial robots has been a barrier to entry for new users, but several companies are developing software to change that. Realtime Robotics Inc. today announced that it has completed $31.4 million Series A round of fundraising. The Boston-based company said it will apply the funding to accelerating product rollouts for its autonomous motion-planning technology.
With productivity staying flat, and labor representing 60% to 65% of warehouse fulfillment costs, businesses are looking to deliver more with smart automation. Worldwide, companies spend an estimated $350 billion a year on warehousing, and they are increasing their use of robotics to keep up with demand.
The global market for industrial automation market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $306.2 billion, according to Meticulous Market Research Pvt. Ltd. As a result, the need has never been greater for simple but powerful solutions that will help manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics companies optimize and scale their use of robotics, said Realtime Robotics.
Realtime Robotics works on collaboration at speed
Realtime Robotics has developed a specialized processor to generate collision-free motion plans in milliseconds for industrial robots and autonomous vehicles. The proprietary technology is intended to enable single or multiple robots to operate autonomously at full speed in unstructured or uncaged environments but then react immediately and safely to the presence of people.
With Realtime, industrial robots can be deployed, updated, and/or re-deployed with minimal programming, said the company. Its motion-control technology is intended to empower companies to automate more processes by removing engineering complexity and reducing cycle time. The goal is to reduce overall expenses, increase throughput, drive greater operational efficiency, and improving returns on investment, it said.
Realtime Robotics said it plans to deepen its reach in the warehouse automation industry, while continuing to serve global automotive manufacturers and their supply chain.
Working closely with long-term partners and customers, Realtime added that it will continue to perfect its “holy grail” collaborative system. It incorporates its real-time planning technology with certified system components to enable industrial robots to proactively adapt their motions and avoid unwanted contact with humans while continuously accomplishing their intended tasks, said Realtime.
Investors represent industry leaders
Realtime's Series A round included new strategic investors HAHN Automation and SAIC Capital Management, as well as new institutional investors Soundproof Ventures and Heroic Ventures. They joined existing investors SPARX Asset Management, Omron Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Scrum Ventures, and Duke Angels
“This investment by some of the world’s leading manufacturers and automation providers stands as a testament to our ability to dramatically improve the value proposition for robotic implementations,” stated Peter Howard, CEO of Realtime Robotics. “Having already realized early deployment success, a broad spectrum of customers and partners are working closely with us to refine features and user experiences, readying our technology for rollouts in their engineering, factory and warehouse operations.
“As one of the world’s leading voices in industrial automation, we understand the importance of improving efficiency at every step of the process,” said Philipp Unterhalt, CEO of the HAHN Group, which now owns the intellectual property of cobot pioneer Rethink Robotics. “Realtime Robotics has taken on this problem with a unique approach—using integrated planning software and controls to speed programming, improve flexibility and improve throughput, simply making industrial automation more affordable and effective.”
“Realtime Robotics is making the promise of optimized manufacturing and logistics operations a reality,” added Ye Wang, Investment Manager at SAIC Capital Management. “Its innovations in autonomous motion planning have proven to remove the complexity behind robotic deployment, lowering costs and improving overall cycle time. We’re thrilled to partner with them in the next stage of their development.”
“Realtime Robotics' technology is ground-breaking and will transform robotic automation across a range of industries,” said Michael Silverstein, Managing Partner of Soundproof Ventures. “We're proud to work closely with the team as they help their customers remove friction, cost, and complexity of automation and drive forward the future of manufacturing.”
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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