Dinner is served - TechCrunch
I've been up my neck in planning CES - and, I believe, unplanned this week. Strange disconnect finds areas for the one millionth UV light robot as you measure the pros and cons of attending a show in person, among the most variable increments. soil. In the end, we have decided not to go to Vegas this time, but I think we will have plenty to discuss for the newsletter in a few weeks.
Nearly two years later, it feels so strange to realize that CES and then our Robotics Session were the last events I personally attended. Having been involved in organizing the latter and leading the CES TechCrunch efforts, I fully understand the importance of not taking these decisions lightly.
And I certainly feel that I still benefit from attending conferences in person, especially when it comes to evaluating robots. There is a limit to how well you can view a robot through Zoom call.
If anything, all of this has led home to how mainstream adoption of robotics systems feels, at one time, very close and still a way off. Interestingly, I can tell you that I have acquired many more areas of robotics for this CES - a show that is designed to be like the bell for the coming year. They represent a wide range, from consumer to business - and everything in between.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated happiness and investment in the industry, but the pace of adoption varies greatly from region to region. The two examples that we have looked at so far for our year - end collection are a long way off. As with previous manufacturing, warehouse and satisfaction robots are in full swing right now. If you recently bought something online, there is a good chance that a robot has helped you at some point online.
Delivery robots are harder. There are a number of pilots out there, and depending on where you live (especially if it's close to a college campus), you may have seen one of them pass through - even if it didn't. your food to you directly. Warehouses are generally under the control of smaller sidewalls and have red tape of regulation to deal with them in terms of their worldwide release, and despite all the funding, the expect to wake up tomorrow to saturated sidewalks with robots.
This week I want to talk to you about who - or, perhaps, what - is actually making the food that these robots may or may not be delivering to your door.
Before we get into it, we asked iRobot co - founder and CEO Colin Angle to reflect on the past year in robotics and give us a forecast for the year ahead.
What was the defining trend of robotics / AI / automation in 2022? Warehouse automation, assisted driving technology - and poop detection, of course - were all areas where we saw improvements in 2022. It was a remarkable year when the meteoric rise seemed to be on the rise. in online shopping (which broke almost 2022) worked well, largely due to large investments in automation. I saw TV commercials for autonomous driving trucks targeting Central America. Is this really happening? And I am proud to say that one of the dirty, rarely discussed challenges of evacuating a robot is now in a rearview mirror, with the advent of highly reliable visual material recognition at a consumer price point. I think it's safe to say that 2022 was a year of transformation for robots.
What will 2022 bring to those regions? As we move into 2022, I would like to see real progress on the luxurious home that people have been waiting for. In the current version of the luxury home, complexity is too high, and usability is too low - but the tools are replacing them for first-come-first-hand ecosystems to emerge and start to grow in system capability and simplicity. So I look to 2022 as not only a year of continued business acceleration amidst constant speculation, but also a year in which we will see a major step forward in the thoughtful integration of robotics into our daily lives. It's inspiring to see momentum grow in so many ways!
And now for one of the most uncomfortable segues I had to make in my long and illustrious career, we move from poop search to food prep [leaving a note here for when corporate asks why my new newsletter lost all of its subscribers in its third week].
This year was a very busy year for the preparation of robotic food. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, there were few start-ups involved. Some - most notably Zume Robotics - were out of the category. But with inflows into venture capital for robots in general there will be an increase in the automation of the restaurant industry. The main reasons are probably two things you know by heart two years into this thing. First, there is a severe shortage of workers in the second US, robots are not sick - and they are not getting sick.
If I had to describe the typical state of food robots in four words, they would be:
- Fastfood (yes, I was deceived by doing this same word)
The first two sit at the top of the list for similar reasons. If you are going to make automatic food, it has to be something that is popular and relatively uniform. Yes, there are tons of different toppings, but for a robot, making pizza is pretty simple: dough, sauce, cheese, topping, cooking, repeat. Companies like Picnic and XRobotics are looking to build where Zume left off.
Bowls fill a similar niche. They have become very popular in recent years and work around a very basic template. Even with variations between toppings and basics like salad, quinoa and the like, the principle is quite simple. So it's no surprise that Sweetgreens followed a California - based quick salad chain back in August with MIT's spinout, Spyce. The move came after a similar build to DoorDash, which was bought by robotics manufacturing company Chowbotics in February.
Miso is currently managing the cost of fast food, with a number of major partnerships announced. The company’s hamburger-flipping and fry-cooking robot can’t replace kitchen workers just yet, but it is becoming more capable, generation after generation.
Boots, meanwhile, are designed to largely take people out of the equation. The solution has been getting a lot of steam lately, courtesy of the aforementioned labor shortage. Human interaction with the systems is largely limited to loading, maintenance and ordering. But with the right technology, you can effectively have a self-contained kitchen preparing fresh food at the push of a button, as evidenced by products like Nommi, whose recent C3 deal is taking food from Masaharu Morimoto Iron Chef to 24/7 food prep machine.
As for this week's news, things have slowed down, ahead of the holidays. We did, however, get a glimpse of what Hyundai is cooking for this CES. The automaker has significantly duplicated its robotics efforts, including the construction of Boston Dynamics. The new Mobile Dcent Eccentric Droid (MobED) is a platform in all senses. It is literal; four-wheel drive machine with center stage. It can also hold a number of different features, from telephone conferences to package delivery to a luxury baby carriage.
Of its sustainability technology, Hyundai says:
The post control system based on eccentric equipment also stabilizes the body view by varying the height of each wheel according to the ground environment. MobED 12-inch pine tires help absorb bumps and tremors.
Tiger Global, meanwhile, is continuing its spending spree. This week the company directed $ 30 million Series B for Pasadena, California's Elementary. The tour, which also includes Fika Ventures, Fathom Capital, Riot VC and Toyota Ventures, brings total startup funding for the device's view to $ 47.5 million. Founder and CEO Arye Barnehama tells TechCrunch:
During the pandemic, manufacturing and logistics have gone through a major shortage of labor that was already starting before the pandemic but has increased significantly. As companies look forward to automation without having to rely on expensive and difficult - to - find engineering talent, our industry is on a scale because we are able to provide them with code - free AI solutions.
Before we go, Series A is about $ 7 million from Unbox Robotics. 3one4 Capital led the tour for the robotics logistics company based in India. Sixth Sense Ventures and Redstart Labs also participated, as did a number of existing investors, including SOSV. The company says the funding will go towards hiring, technology development and expansion into new areas.
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