This week, we came across two major news which put the whole world into all sorts of debate. These were launch of delivery drones by Amazon and Google’s quite acquisition of seven robotic companies in the past six months. Wherein the flying drones faced security concerns, the Google attempt to foray into robotics was seen as a move to compete with Amazon.
However, its not the first attempt to tap the future opportunities in the field of robotics and drones. According to a latest analysis by CB insights, VC’s are already investing into the companies placing early bets on a future of commercial drones and robots, that can work alongside humans (or who knows replace them one day).
As reported, to date, venture capital investments into drone-related startups has hit $79Mn across 15 deals, with prominent investors such as Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Felicis Ventures. The chart below depicts the Venture Capital funding given to startups in the last five years.
Unlike Drones, Robotics is a pretty old concept and till date significant developments have been seen the field of artificial intelligence. In terms of funding, the space has attracted a lot of Vc’s and funding in the first three quarters of 2013 has already surpassed that in all of 2012. Have a look in the chart below:
Also, as cited in the report, the majority of these fundings, or acquisitions have been done by the tech companies (such as google) including a total 11 this year. Below mentioned is the brief overview of the robotic startups acquired by Google this year:
1) Schaft: A Japanese team initiative, Schaft is working towards making robots compact and strong at the same time.
2) Industrial perception: Based out of Palo Alto, CA, Industrial Perception, Inc. (IPI) is working with a team of industrial automation experts to deliver cutting-edge logistics solutions. Its 3D vision-guided robot technology and enables industrial robots to assume challenging logistical tasks such as truck and container unloading, eCommerce fulfillment and package sorting.
3) Meka Robotics: The company aims to develop human-safe, human-soft, and human-scale robot technologies that will enable the robots of tomorrow to work alongside people in the home and the workplace.
4) Redwood Robotics: A San Francisco based company, which believes that in the coming decade robotic devices that work with people will become pervasive. It is currently working on the next generation of robotic arms.
5) Bot & Dolly: It specializes in automation, robotics, and filmmaking, with its core technology centered around an integrated software/hardware platform that provides precise and expressive control of 6-axis industrial robots.
6) Autofuss and Holomni: There is not much information available about these companies. According to other publications, Holomni creates small omni directional wheels and vehicles, while there is no word about Autofuss (we not even found its website)
Also, not to forget, Amazon had already made its move in robotics last year only with the acquisition of Kiva Systems Inc for USD 775 Mn.
Till date the world was moving around Big Data, Cloud and IOT. Now, with the foray of giants like Amazon and Google into more advanced drones and robots, it clearly makes sense that the tech war is on. Previously, we have seen the similar scenario in the case of wearable computing wherein brands like Samsung, Apple, Google and Sony have launched their smart watches one after the other.
So, Now that Amazon has got drones, Google has Robots, what next can Apple bring?
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