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The Robot Report Podcast

Author: The Robot Report Podcast

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Join Steve Crowe every week for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.
37 Episodes
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Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot, discusses advancements in end of arm tooling and what's next for the industry. Juan Aparicio, VP of Product at READY Robotics, talks about simplifying programming interfaces to democratize the use of robotics.
Kevin Dunlap of Calibrate Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, joins the program to discuss the SPAC craze, recent robotics investments, and his thoughts about the state of the industry. I also hit on the robotics stories of the week, including Motional testing Level 4 robotaxis in Las Vegas, NASA's video of the Perseverance Rover landing and more.
Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, discusses the company's $150 million Series E funding round and new unicorn status. He also explains why Locus should be a publicly-traded company. Will Wilder, CEO of Wilder Systems, joined the show to discuss the cobot system his team built that automates rapid COVID-19 testing results. He said the system is being adapted to help test for other viruses, such as Ebola and Zika. We also celebrate the incredible team at NASA JPL for putting robots back on Mars.
Helen Greiner, CEO of Tertill, a Boston-based startup developing gardening robots, joined the show to talk about how she will help the startup scale. She also discussed the challenges of developing consumer robots and how her experience co-founding iRobot will help. We also talk drone delivery and what went wrong at her commercial drone company CyPhy Works.
Tom McCarthy joins the show to discuss how Motiv Space Systems is developing a robotic arm to survive the extreme cold of the Moon’s South Pole. The COLDarm can survive temperatures as environments as cold as –279°F. COLDarm could be headed to the Moon in 2024. I also talk to Ben Upcroft, VP of Technology at Oxbotica, a company developing autonomy software for all sorts of autonomous vehicle applications, both off-road and on-road. We discuss the keys to infrastructure free navigation, the acceleration of innovation in the autonomous vehicle space and why Level 5 robotaxis might never arrive. And I discuss how Spot Arm will improve Boston Dynamics' Spot quadruped and the disappointment of Waymo not expanding its robotaxi service in Arizona.
For the first time, yearly orders of robots from non-automotive sectors surpassed automotive robot orders, as sales of robotic units in North America increased 3.5% in 2020 from 2019. A3 president Jeff Burnstein takes us inside the numbers and what it means for the future of robotics. We also introduce you to Canvas, a startup that recently exited stealth mode. It's trying to automate drywall finishing using robotics. We learn about the challenges and opportunities for Canvas' system. We recap the top stories of the week, including Softbank's ever-changing robotics strategy, AutoX launching a fully driverless robotaxi service in China, and Amazon launching a new robotics upskilling program.
American Robotics became the first drone company approved by the FAA to operate automated drones without human operators on site. Reese Mozer, CEO & co-founder of American Robotics, joined the podcast to discuss the implications for the company and the industry. He takes us through the technical capabilities of the company's drones, how humans will remain in the loop, and what types of missions its drones will now carry out. I also comment on the week's top robotics stories, including Marc Raibert weighing in on Atlas' dance skills, President Trump pardoning Anthony Levandowski, and Cruise raising another $2 billion and sending its autonomous vehicles over to Japan.
Greg Smith, president of Teradyne’s Industrial Automation Group, takes us inside the company's acquisition strategy. Teradyne's industrial automation portfolio include leading companies Universal Robots, Mobile Industrial Robots, Energid and AutoGuide Mobile Robots. Teradyne is still looking for acquisitions, and Greg tells us what Teradyne looks for in companies. Was Teradyne interested in Boston Dynamics before it was acquired by Hyundai for nearly $1 billion? Greg also shared that Universal Robots sold more than 9,000 cobots in 2020 alone, and he offered a unique perspective on mobile manipulation, saying the ROI is a challenge.
Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics, discusses his pick-and-place robots that improving the economics of the recycling industry. Matanya discusses the technical and business challenges involved in running the company, as well as the evolution of its custom vision system and gripper. He also tells us how the data collected by the vision system is opening up new revenue streams. I also spoke to Josh Fox, an applications engineer at Festo USA. Josh was part of the team that won the recent MassRobotics-GM gripper challenge. Josh takes us inside the challenges and details the universal end effector Festo developed to handle a variety of sheet metal parts.
What robotics company had a better 2020 than Boston Dynamics. Michael Patrick Perry, Boston Dynamics' VP of business development, joins the podcast discuss the company's massive year and, of course, being acquired by Hyundai Motor Group for $880 million. We also catch up with Dr. Timothy Chung, program manager for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. Tim takes us inside the recently completed Cave Circuit Virtual Competition and shares some of the lessons that were learned.
Aurora's acquisition of Uber's self-driving unit takes center stage on episode 27. We break down the acquisition and try to figure out why Aurora would have purchased Uber's troubled self-driving unit. We also catch up with Joel Reed, the interim executive director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. Joel updates us on the status of the cluster, tells us about some interesting companies to watch, his daily sightings of autonomous vehicles, and how the cluster has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jud Kauffman and Joe Wolfel, co-founders of Austin, Texas-based startup Terradepth, are building autonomous submarines for deep ocean exploration. Its long-term goal is to build the Google Earth of the ocean. They discuss the challenges and opportunities of Terradepth's mission and how their Naval experience is playing a vital role. We also chat with Nader Elm, CEO and co-founder of Exyn Technologies. Exyn is a spin-off of the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania that builds autonomous drones that are operating in GPS-denied environments such as mines.
We talk to Dextrous Robotics CEO and co-founder Evan Drumwright about its approach to automating the unloading of box trucks. This might be the next big problem for robotics companies to solve, and Dextrous is taking a unique approach. We also discuss the remake of Short Circuit and share our all-time favorite robotics movies. Other discussions include recent robotics investments, Motional's Level 4 autonomous vehicles coming to Nevada and a new study analyzes the ongoing robots vs. jobs debate.
We break down why Softbank is reportedly looking to sell Boston Dynamics to Hyundai for upwards of $1B. Hyundai would be the third owner of Boston Dynamics in the last 7 years. What's the reason for the sale: slow commercialization from Boston Dynamics, soured investments from Softbank or both? We discuss. We're also joined by Aaron Prather, FedEx's senior advisor of technology, research and planning, to discuss FedEx's growing use of robotics, his work on mobile robot interoperability, advice for startups, and his thoughts on Boston Dynamics and more.
We break down the fallout between Bossa Nova and Walmart with Simbe Robotics' Brad Bogolea. Andrew Smith, CEO and Founder of Outrider, joins the show to discuss the challenges and opportunities of developing level 4 autonomous yard trucks.
Mike Tremblay, president and CEO of Invest Ottawa, takes us inside the new Area X.O R&D facility that hopes to advance Canadian robotics. We also list the world's spookiest robots, and catch up with Buck Jordan, President and Chairman of Miso Robotics, to discuss the expanded trials with White Castle and the future of food automation.
Dave Evans, Founder and CEO of Fictiv, discusses the importance of a company's manufacturing and supply chain ecosystems. We breakdown case studies from Hebi Robotics and Gecko Robotics. We're also joined by Marc Alba of NTT Disruption, which is the new owner of the Jibo social robot. Marc updates us on the current status of the robot and the new direction in which it's headed.
Tessa Lau, founder and CEO of Dusty Robotics, updates us on the FieldPrinter building layout robot. She discusses how the company pivoted away from its initial product idea, its custom localization, mapping and navigation technology, building relationships with builders, and scaling its field operations team. We also discuss the expansion of Waymo's driverless robotaxi program around Phoenix. Where will the service head to next and when? We discuss. Bert Swift and Blair Locke, CEO & Co-founder of Coapt, join us to discuss the state of robotic prosthetics. Bert, who lost an arm to childhood cancer, shares his story and how a robotic prosthetic has changed his life.
Georg Stieler gives us an inside look at China's robotics industry, we catch up with Motional CTO Laura Major on all things robotaxis, and Toyota Research Institute is developing a ceiling-mounted gantry robot for your kitchen.
Doug Teany, COO, Corindus Vascular Robotics discusses robotic-assisted surgery, 5G hype vs. reality, and being acquired by Siemens Medical Solutions for $1.1 billion. We also talk about Helen Greiner joining a gardening robotics startup, privacy issues with Amazon Ring's indoor security drone and more.
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