Investment activity in robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, and related technologies slowed in May 2021 in comparison with the previous month, totaling more than $3 billion in 70 deals. In comparison, there were also about 70 transactions in April, but they were worth more than $7 billion.
Industrial automation, mostly for manufacturing, was the leader in May 2021, with more than $806 million in investments. The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) last month noted that first-quarter 2021 robot sales increased 20% over the same period last year. In addition, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) released updated figures on robotics usage and the research and development strategies of leading nations.
For the past few years, autonomous vehicles have led investments nearly every month. May 2021 was an exception, with transportation, including self-driving cars and trucks, raising about $670 million.
Robotics components, software, and artificial intelligence, as well as sensors for autonomous vehicles, received more than $220 million in funding in May 2021.
Companies providing automation for supply chain, logistics, and warehouse operations were involved in more than $157 million worth of deals, followed by retail and service applications, such as cleaning robots, at $125 million. There was speculation about mobile robot provider GreyOrange's $600 million initial public offering (IPO) plans, but they have not yet been confirmed.
Aerial drone providers participated in $80 million worth of transactions, and healthcare and surgical systems garnered $37 million in funding last month.
A combination of press releases, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and services such as Tracxn's showed 11 robotics mergers and acquisitions in May 2021, compared with 15 in April. Many companies did not disclose the amounts of their fundings or mergers.
Here are the top 10 automation transactions that Robotics 24/7 tracked in May 2021.