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Realtime Robotics, a company developing technology that enables robots to alter their motions in dynamic, fast-moving environments, has raised $31.4 million in a series A round of funding.
Founded out of Boston in 2016, Realtime Robotics said that it has developed a processor capable of creating “collision-free motion plans” in milliseconds, helping industrial robots and other autonomous vehicles plan their every move and alter course if needed.
While Realtime Robotics caters to structured environments where object locations and positions are known, it’s unstructured environments and unpredictable workspaces where things get particularly interesting.
In situations where other robots, moving machinery, static objects, and humans coexist, this can prove challenging for robots tasked with a particular job — if a robotic arm can move in any number of directions while simultaneously rolling along a factory floor, how will it react to a forklift truck that shoots out of nowhere? Or how can it safely collaborate with other robots in the same space without banging into each other?
That is what Realtime Robotics is setting out to solve, enabling companies to automatically generate a “network of potential motion plans” that adapt to changing environments instantly, removing the engineering complexity involved in humans having to manually configure all possible variations themselves.
Above: Realtime Robotics: Dynamic environments and adaptive motion planning
There is more than enough evidence of the profound impact that AI and automation is already having on assembly lines, ecommerce warehouses, and other verticals. The industrial automation market was pegged as a $164 billion industry in 2020, a figure that’s forecast to nearly double within six years. What Realtime Robotics and its ilk are striving to achieve is to bring human-level perception and reactions to machines that operate in dynamic or hazardous environments — anticipating their next move before they need to make it.
Prior to now, Realtime Robotics had raised around $16 million, and with another $31.4 million in the bank, the company said that it plans to expand its reach into warehouse logistics automation. It added that it also plans to continue on its existing trajectory, which has so far been focused on the automotive industry, enabling it to attract companies such as Ford to its roster of early partners, while Hyundai, Toyota, and Mitsubishi have all previously invested in Realtime Robotics too.
Investors in Realtime Robotics’ series A round included newcomers HAHN Automation, SAIC Capital Management, Soundproof Ventures, Heroic Ventures, alongside existing backers Toyota AI Ventures, Sparx Asset Management, Omron Ventures, Scrum Ventures, and Duke Angels.
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