Top 10 robotics stories of August 2020

WiBotic FCC

What a month it was for robotics. Whether it was tele-operating Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot from 3,000-plus miles away or learning how PyTorch enables Blue River Technology’s agricultural robots, there was no shortage of robotics stories to cover in August 2020.

Here are the Top 10 most popular robotics stories on The Robot Report in August 2020. Subscribe to The Robot Report‘s newsletter to stay updated on the robotics stories you need to know about.

10. FCC grants WiBotic 300 watt authorization for wireless charging

Mobile robots are limited in range and function by how often and how long they need to recharge. WiBotic recently received the authorization from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for its high-power transmitters and receivers. The company claimed its 300-watt wireless charging systems are the first to get FCC approval for use with robots, drones, and other industrial devices.

robotics stories

9. Qualcomm’s Dev Singh on 5G, edge robotics; do delivery robots make economic sense?

Dev Singh, senior director of business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines, Qualcomm Technologies recently joined The Robot Report Podcast. We talked to Dev about the benefits 5G and edge computing are having on the robotics industry, common challenges robotics developers face, and Qualcomm’s role in NASA’s 2020 Mars Mission. Listen to Podcast

Amazon calibration

8. Amazon engineers building robots from their garages

While some folks are able to do their jobs at home with just a laptop and internet connection, it’s not that simple for other employees at Amazon, including those who spend their days building and testing robots. Some engineers have turned their homes into R&D labs to continue building these new technologies to better serve our customers and employees. Here are a few of their stories.

Spot robot

7. We tele-operated Boston Dynamics’ Spot from 3,000 miles away

Senior Editor Eugene Demaitre and I tele-operated Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot from 3,000-plus miles away. We took Spot for a walk around Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, controlling it from our homes near Boston. Spot is beyond impressive. It does all the hard work, such as walking up and down stairs and handling different terrain. Watch our video recap of the experience.

The Robot Report Podcast

6. Waypoint Robotics’ Jason Walker on mobile robots; Thomas Visti’s next chapter

Jason Walker, CEO & co-founder of Waypoint Robotics, joined The Robot Report Podcast to talk about the state of autonomous mobile robots. We discussed misconceptions with customers, why Waypoint hasn’t moved onto ROS 2, and how his experience as a racecar engineer prepared him for robotics. We also catch up with Thomas Visti, former CEO of Mobile Industrial Robots, who stepped down to launch Visti Unlimited. Listen to Podcast

Robotics investments recap: July 2020

5. Robotics investments recap: July 2020

Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis and simmering trade tensions, robotics companies received more than $1.9 billion in funding in July 2020. As usual lately, autonomous vehicles led the way, followed by drones, robots for manufacturing, and healthcare systems.

XYZ's tool changer rapidly swaps end effectors. Source: XYZ Robotics

4. XYZ Robotics closes Series A+ to scale AI-driven piece picking

Piece picking is still a challenge for robots, particularly in high-variability applications such as e-commerce order fulfillment. XYZ Robotics, which develops a 3D vision system and end-of-arm tooling for logistics and industrial automation, announced a Series A+ round of nearly $20 million. The capital will fuel its research and development, business expansion, and operational capabilities, as well as large-scale deployment.

robotics stories

3. AI for agriculture: How PyTorch enables Blue River’s robots

Blue River Technology uses cameras, computer vision, machine learning and robotics to make an intelligent sprayer that drives through fields and targets and sprays weeds, leaving the crops intact. Here is a deep dive into how Blue River Technology uses PyTorch and Weights and Biases to enable its intelligent agricultural robots. 

ADLINK development environment

2. ADLINK on value of edge AI, ROS 2, faster robotics development

ADLINK has worked with Intel, NVIDIA, and other partners to provide ROS 2 edge AI support for commercial robotics developers. Joe Speed, field CTO of ADLINK, explains how ROS 2 is intended for commercial robotics developers, how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand, and how perception and fleet management can improve.

robotics stories

1. 5 features ROS 2 needs to add for robotics developers

Michael Ferguson, director of R&D at Cobalt Robotics, began working with ROS in 2010 as a Software Engineer at Willow Garage. He is often asked if ROS 2 is ready for primetime. His answer for a long time was “no,” but now he’s upgrading his answer to “maybe, depends on what you’re doing” at this point. Ferguson shares his thoughts on five features ROS 2 needs to make the answer “hell yes” for most roboticists.

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