Robotic Assistance: The Diminishment of Human Job Fulfillment

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In the short term, many employers have complained of an inability to fill roles and retain workers, further accelerating robotic adoption. One aspect of the conversation that is oft neglected, however, is how human workers feel about their robotic colleagues. But could the technology also have a negative impact on worker morale? The institute reports a negative impact to worker-perceived meaningfulness and autonomy levels. As long as robots have a positive impact on a corporation’s bottom line, adoption will continue at a rapidly increasing clip.

Innovative Startup Serve Robotics, Supported by Uber and Nvidia, Makes $40M Debut on Public Markets

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Serve Robotics, the Uber and Nvidia-backed sidewalk robot delivery company, debuted publicly on the New York stock exchange Thursday, making it the latest startup to choose going public via a reverse merger as an alternative path to capital needed to fund growth. While Serve’s debut in the public markets comes from a reverse merger and not a SPAC, the two alternate paths to IPO are not too dissimilar. However, Serve Robotics said it’s expecting enormous growth fueled by money generated by going public. “I never thought that I would start a robotics company and then be in the ads business,” said a tired, but excited, Kashani in a phone interview minutes before the bell rang. Upon the closing of the merger, Uber held a 16.6% stake and Nvidia an 14.3% stake in Serve, according to regulatory filings.

to the moon Journey to the Moon: A Humanoid Robot Embarked by Mobileye’s Founder

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Mentee Robotics hasn’t been in stealth, exactly. The Israeli firm caught a small wave of press at the tail end of 2022, following Tesla’s initial humanoid robotics announcement. Even so, the firm caught some headlines because its co-founder and chair, Amnon Shashua, founded Mobileye and the well-funded AI firm, AI21 Labs. On Wednesday, however, the company offered up a glimpse of Menteebot, its own stab at the rapidly growing humanoid category. In fact, this is one of those spots where the precise definition of what constitutes a humanoid system gets blurred.

“Atlas Bows: Boston Dynamics Bids Farewell to Its Hydraulic Humanoid Robot”

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Now that humanoids are all the rage in the robotics industry, Boston Dynamics on Tuesday officially retired theirs. Boston Dynamics has been focused on commercializing technologies for a number of years now. Boston Dynamics was, of course, well ahead of the current humanoid robotics curve. Another wrinkle in today’s news is that, as of February, Boston Dynamics was still showcasing Atlas’ capabilities. Meantime, in lieu of a gold watch, Boston Dynamics is offering up a video featuring some of Atlas’ greatest hits and most spectacular falls.

74 Robotics Companies Seeking New Employees!

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It’s tough out there — and yet, doing my semi-regular jobs post always gives me hope. Seems every time I post one of these, the number increases. At 74 companies, this is undoubtedly the largest list we’ve made, by a wide margin. That means more work for me in putting this post together, but if it helps a few folks find some work, it was definitely worth it. 1X Technologies (23 roles)Advanced Construction Robotics (4 roles)Aescape (5 roles)Aethon (5 roles)Agility Robotics (5 roles)Allvision (2 roles)Ambi Robotics (2 roles)ANYbotics (25 roles)Apptronik (16 roles)Astrobotic (23 roles)Atomic Machines (2 roles)Aurora (40 careers)Baubot (10 roles)Bear Robotics (13 roles)BHS Robotics (8 roles)Bloomfield Robotics (5 roles)Boxbot (3 roles)Carnegie Robotics (1 role)Cepheid (4 roles)Chef Robotics (15 roles)Civ Robotics (5 roles)Collaborative Robotics (10 roles)Covariant (20 roles)Dexterity (42 roles)Edge Case Research (1 role)Ekumen (3 roles)Enchanted Tools (50 roles)Engineered Arts (1 role)Exotec (174 roles)Eye-Bot (4 roles)Forcen (4 roles)Formant, Inc. (4 roles)Formic (8 roles)Formlogic (12 roles)Four Growers (4 roles)Foxglove (2 roles)Fulfil Solutions (15 roles)Gecko Robotics (18 roles)GrayMatter Robotics (11 roles)Hellbender (6 roles)Johnson & Johnson Med Tech (1 role)Keybotic (2 roles)Matic Robots (10 roles)Medra (3 roles)Mine Vision Systems (2 roles)Near Earth Autonomy (4 roles)Neocis (15 roles)Neubility (1 role)Neuraville (8 roles)Neya Systems (9 roles)Nimble Robotics (8 roles)Nuro (40 roles)Onward Robotics (2 roles) (3 roles)Polymath Robotics (2 roles)Pudu Robotics (2 roles)Pyka (10 roles)Reliable Robotics (36 roles)Roboto AI (1 role)Robust AI (14 roles)Sanctuary AI (14 roles)Sakar Robotics (6 roles)Scythe Robotics (11 roles)Seegrid (10 roles)Sphinx (5 roles)Stack AV (40 roles)Sunnybotics (2 roles)The AI Institute (19 roles)Titan Robotics (3 roles)UnitX (8 roles)Vecna Robotics (7 roles)Vention (20 roles)Viam (4 roles)Volley Automation (10 roles)

Robotic Forklifts to be Utilized by Walmart in Distribution Centers

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As Walmart works to remain competitive, it’s taking a more piecemeal approach to automation, through partnerships with a range of different robotics firms. On Thursday, the mega-retailer announced a partnership with Fox Robotics, which brings 19 of the Austin-based startup’s robotic forklifts to its distribution centers. Today’s news follows a 16-month pilot, which found Walmart trialing the technology in Distribution Center 6020. DC 6020 is the place where Walmart began trials with Symbotic’s package sortation and retrieval technologies. Following that successful trial, Walmart announced plans to roll out the technology to all 42 of its Regional Distribution Centers — that was nearly double the original target of 25.

Transforming Robotics Focuses on Human-Centered Solutions Rather Than Humanoid Appearances

It is, after all, a lot easier to generate press for robots that look and move like humans. For a while now, Collaborative Robotics founder Brad Porter has eschewed robots that look like people. As the two-year-old startup’s name implies, Collaborative Robotics (Cobot for short) is interested in the ways in which humans and robots will collaborate, moving forward. When his run with the company ended in summer 2020, he was leading the retail giant’s industrial robotics team. AI will, naturally, be foundational to the company’s promise of “human problem solving,” while the move away from the humanoid form factor is a bid, in part, to reduce the cost of entry for deploying these systems.

Agility Robotics Trims Workforce to Prioritize Commercialization Goals

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Agility Robotics on Thursday confirmed that it has laid off a “small number” of employees. The well-funded Oregon-based firm says the job loss is part of a company-wide focus on commercialization efforts. Ultimately, however, those efforts were placed on the back burner, as the company shifted focus to understaffed warehouses. Two years ago this month, the company announced a $150 million Series B. Amazon notably participated in the round by way of its Industrial Innovation Fund. Last month at Modex, Agility showcased updates to Digit’s end effectors designed specifically for automotive manufacturing workflows.

Kiwibot Acquires Taipei Chipmaker Amidst US-China Tensions

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Bay Area/Colombia-based delivery robotics firm Kiwibot this week announced that it has acquired Auto Mobility Solutions. The Taipei firm produces chips specifically for the world of robotics and autonomous driving. Kiwi founder and CEO Felipe Chávez Cortés does, however, tell TechCrunch that rising tensions between the U.S. and China are a key motivator for the purchase. Prior to this, the U.S. government had set its sights on various Chinese tech giants, including Huawei and DJI. Taiwan’s tenuous geopolitical situation, coupled with its vastly outsized share of the semiconductor market, has placed it at the center of the conflict.

Home robotics’ gain might benefit from Apple’s electric vehicle deficit

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With the Apple Car firmly in the rearview, the company is reportedly exploring yet another notoriously difficult path: home robots. In spite of those efforts, however, the company has fared best when it focused its resources back into its robot vacuum. The hockey puck design that’s prevalent across robot vacuums isn’t ideal for anything beyond the core functionality it’s built for. That’s likely a big part of the reason the company is selling it as a development platform. There’s nothing wrong with teleop in many scenarios, but it seems unlikely that people are going to flock to a home robot that’s being controlled by a human somewhere far away.