Scythe Robotics raises $42M to scale autonomous lawnmowers

By Steve Crowe 

Scythe Robotics, a Colorado-based developer of autonomous lawnmowers for the professional landscape industry, raised $42 million in Series B financing. The round was led by Energy Impact Partners and included additional new investors ArcTern Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Amazon’s Alexa Fund, alongside participation from existing investors True Ventures, Inspired Capital and more.

Scythe Robotics said the funding will help it meet demand for the more than 7,500 reservations for its all-electric, fully autonomous M.52 mower. Founded in 2018, this financing round brings the company’s total capital raised to date to $60.6 million.

According to Scythe Robotics, the latest generation of Scythe M.52 can mow all day on a single charge. It features a suite of sensors that enable it to operate safely in dynamic environments by identifying and responding to the presence of humans, animals and other potential obstacles. Simultaneously, it captures property and mower performance data that helps landscapers improve workflow, identify upsell opportunities, schedule more efficiently and manage labor costs.

“Since launching from stealth in June 2021, we’ve seen overwhelming interest from commercial landscape contractors in Scythe M.52 as a solution addressing both their crippling labor pains and their electrification needs,” said Jack Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Scythe. “We’re thrilled to expand our outstanding investor list, particularly with the addition of influential climate-tech investors Energy Impact Partners and ArcTern Ventures, and secure more capital to scale and meet the phenomenal demand for M.52 as we work to decarbonize the landscape industry.”

Morrison was a guest on The Robot Report Podcast in June 2022. He discussed the commercial market for autonomous mowers and how Scythe is going to market to support the needs of commercial landscapers with its Robots-as-a-service (RaaS) business model.

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boston dynamics’ humanoid robot ‘atlas’ effortlessly helps on construction sites


Boston Dynamics’ handy helper and humanoid robot Atlas can maneuver obstacles, seamlessly join a choreographed dance party, or jog on its own in the park, and today, he can effortlessly work on construction sites. In the recently released video by the group, Atlas manipulates the world around it as the humanoid robot interacts with objects and modifies the course it is on.

Atlas tests its locomotion, sensing, and athleticism by delivering a bag of tools to a person waiting at the top of a multi-story scaffold and even pushing a cargo box from his position. Atlas grasps, carries, and tosses the tool bag, climbs stairs, jumps between levels, and tips over a large wooden block out of its way before dismounting with an inverted 540-degree flip that project engineers have dubbed the ‘Sick Trick.’

Atlas control lead Ben Stephens says that parkour and dancing were examples of what might be extreme locomotion, and now the team is trying to build upon that research to also do more robotics manipulation. ‘It’s important to us that the robot can perform these tasks with a certain amount of human speed. People are very good at these tasks, so that has required some pretty big upgrades to the control software,’ he says.

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Robots Can Stop To Smell The Roses Now, Thanks To AI And A Biological Sensor

by Tim Sweezy

Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv have developed a robot that can “smell” using an innovative biological sensor. The sensor transfers electrical information in response to the presence of an odor, which the robot is capable of detecting and interpreting. However, the technology is still lags far behind what of millions of years of evolution has enabled.

The breakthrough out of the University of Tel Aviv has researchers hopeful that the new technology could be used in the future to identify explosives, drugs, diseases, and more. This is due to the fact that they were able to identify odors with a level of sensitivity 10,000 times higher than that of a commonly used electronic device that’s employed today.

“An example of this can be found at the airport where we go through a magnetometer that costs millions of dollars and can detect if we are carrying any metal devices. But when they want to check if a passenger is smuggling drugs, they bring in a dog to sniff him,” stated Dr. Ben Maoz of the Fleishman Faculty of Engineering and the Sagol School of Neuroscience.

Researchers provided the example of a mosquito, which can detect “a 0.01 percent difference in the level of carbon dioxide in the air.” Professor Amir Ayali of the School of Zoology and the Sagol Neuroscience added, “Today, we are far from producing sensors whose capabilities come close to those of insects.”Play

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Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Can Now Pick Up and Throw Things

A video demo shows how Atlas could help human construction workers at a building site (or possibly lead a robot uprising).

By Michael Kane

We’ve seen the Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics dance, do backflips, and even perform parkour. But now it’s received a new skill: the ability to pick up and throw objects. 

In a new video, the Atlas robot is seen carrying a tool bag up some scaffolding and then throwing it to a human construction worker who’s standing on a simulated construction site. The demonstration requires Atlas to use its sensors and a large variety of capabilities to navigate the site while remaining balanced. 

In the video, the Atlas robot first picks up and places a large wooden plank to act as a bridge over the construction site. The machine then proceeds to walk over the plank after picking up the tool bag with its two hands. 

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Nvidia’s robot simulator adds human co-workers

By Brian Heater

Simulators have been a godsend when it comes to testing robots. Real-world testing is lengthy, expensive and potentially dangerous, so anything you can do to work out as many kinks as possible ahead of time is a big win. Isaac Sim has thus far proven a success for Nvidia, as the chipmaker has looked to aggressively enter the world of robotics and automation, while roboticists search for a way to run simulations of real-life working conditions.

Today at CES, the company announced some key improvements to the system. Accessible via the cloud for robotics developers everywhere, the system is adding a very important piece of the puzzle: humans. Well, virtual humans. After all, for all the talk about robots replacing human jobs, the two are going to be working side by side for the foreseeable future.

“To minimize the difference between results observed in a simulated world versus those seen in the real world,” Nvidia notes, “it’s imperative to have physically accurate sensor models.”

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Disney Files Patent for Air and Water-Powered Flying Robots

Disney has filed a patent for flying robots that would be powered with a hybrid and air and water, Orlando Business Journal reports.

By Shannen Michaelsen

The patent is for an “Untethered robot with hybrid air and water power for hovering and quick airborne movements.” It describes how they could control the movements of a flying robot through thrust propulsion via air or water. The robot would be able to pose and change directions in mid-air.

“In-flight movements and stable or controlled landings for a flying robot have recently come into demand to provide unique and surprising entertainment to audiences in settings where it may be difficult to utilize live performers,” the patent says.

The patent also indicates projectors would be able to put different images onto the robot while it is moving, turning it into different characters.

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Adorable smart home robot unveiled at CES 2023 could be a great addition to your family

By Jon Bitner

Every January, CES brings us a laundry list of innovative, intriguing products that’ll probably never see the light of day. Enabot, an under-the-radar robot company, seems to be bucking that trend at CES 2023, with its impressive EBO X smart home robot offering up dozens of futuristic features and a release date planned for the second quarter of this year.

EBO X is an adorable smart home robot that serves multiple purposes in your household. After mapping its surroundings, the self-balancing, two-wheeled companion can follow you around your home, provide two-way communication through its 4K camera, pump out music via its Harman speakers, sync with other Alexa devices, and provide security alerts while you’re away.

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How all-electric, self-driving Clearbot helps tackle ocean plastic pollution in Asia

Clearbots has operations in India and Hong Kong and is looking to expand to the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore soon

By Sainul Abudheen

A few years ago, Sidhant Gupta, an ocean lover, and Utkarsh Goel, a techie, visited Bali, Indonesia, as part of their course at the University of Hong Kong. Miffed by the growing the ocean plastic pollution in the archipelago, a top contributor to global plastic pollution, the duo decided to leverage their technical expertise to tackle it.

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, of which about 14 million tons end up in the ocean every year. Plastic makes up 80 per cent of all marine debris. While many solutions are available to address this problem, they are grossly inadequate.

“Existing solutions are slow, with some communities still using paddle boats and diesel-powered boats for fishing trash. We realised technologies like Artificial Intelligence could address this problem effectively.”

This led the duo to start Clearbot in 2019.

Clearbot is a remotely operated vehicle designed to perform various tasks in the marine sector, including data collection, site monitoring, marine pollution cleaning, and goods delivery. Powered by an electric motor, it can complete these tasks without human intervention.

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Miniature Robots to Patrol the Pipe Network to Prevent Leaks


By Madhurjya Chowdhu

The University of Sheffield’s Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR) is testing a new generation of subterranean robotic pipe patrollers. Pipebots are tiny, mobile robots with all-terrain legs and cameras for eyes. They are being created in coordination with the water sector to inspect pipes and detect flaws and cracks before they become leaks.

According to Ofwat, the economic regulator for the water industry, about three billion liters of water are lost through leaks every day in England and Wales hundreds of thousands of kilometers of water pipe. Miniature robots have now been created by engineers to patrol the pipe network, look for problems, and stop leaks. Without robotics, they claim that maintaining the network will be “impossible.” According to the water industry’s trade group Water UK, businesses are already “spending billions” in reducing leakage. However, a recent Ofwat assessment emphasized that water providers had not made enough investments. By not investing enough in upgrades, it cited a number of them as “letting down customers and the environment.” In response, Water UK stated that leakage had reached “its lowest level since privatization.” Leaks are a common and challenging issue: In the UK, millions of properties are supplied with water by hundreds of thousands of kilometers of pipe that are in various states of repair and age.

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Meet the autonomous Moon robots about to change space travel forever

By Stuart Clark

If we want to explore the Solar System even further, we’ll need self-sufficient robots to help us do it. And that’s why scientists are putting futuristic bots through their paces on the lunar-like landscape of Mount Etna.

Anyone who has followed our efforts to explore other planets over the last few decades will have realised the importance of robots. They’re our mechanical eyes and ears on distant worlds, and have allowed us to see places that would have otherwise remained shrouded in mystery. Perhaps this is why the landing of each new NASA rover on Mars draws millions of viewers online.

Recently, however, most of the headlines have been about the imminent return of humans to the Moon. So with people once again venturing further out into space, will robotic explorers start to fade in importance?

Not at all. The fact is robotic explorers are set to become more important than ever. “There are some places in the Solar System you can’t send humans, Venus, for example, or some moons of Jupiter or Saturn,” says Prof Alin Albu-Schäffer from the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center, Munich. “They’re just too far away and too hostile for humans. So, you know, robots will be very important.”

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This robot will soon deliver food from airport restaurants to your gate

Ottobot is an autonomous robot will be used for food delivery at airports next year. 

By Ishita Banerjee

Food delivery is expected to reach a whole new level with Ottobot- a self-manoeuvring that will deliver food from airport eateries to your gate. With the help of Ottobot, you can get your food delivered to the gate through which you board your flight.

Ottobot is an autonomous robot for delivery of small hand-held items. Around next year, it may be put into use and it might be seen delivering airport restaurant and cafe food right to customers’ tables. As of now the areas that it is being explored in are the restaurant terrains, airports, groceries and postal services.

Ritukar Vijay, Ashish Gupta, Pradyot Korupolu and Hardik Shama are the four founders of the Ottonomy company which they have been working on since 2020. It has around 40 employees across India and the US.

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ABM Deploys Knightscope Autonomous Robots in Major Parking Facility

ABM Deploys Knightscope Autonomous Robots in Major Parking Facility (Photo: Business Wire)

Knightscope Introduces Innovative New Automated Monitoring Measures and Parking Infrastructure Improvements in Partnership with ABM, One of the Nation’s Largest Parking Service Providers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Knightscope, Inc. (Nasdaq: KSCP), a developer of advanced physical monitoring technologies focused on enhancing U.S. facility operations, and ABM (NYSE: ABM), a leading provider of integrated facility services, parking and transportation management solutions, and electric vehicle (“EV”) charger installations, today announced the deployment of three Autonomous Robots at an international airport parking facility in the US.

The Knightscope self-driving robots will navigate and monitor ABM’s parking facility without any human intervention to gather and deliver unprecedented levels of data and actionable intelligence for the airport operations team to assist in making smarter, safer, and faster decisions. With the ability to see a full 360-degrees (even in the dark), stream video directly to airport staff, and keep a high-definition record of its observations for up to 30 days, the powerful analytics embedded within the Autonomous Robots can even detect a person that the human eye may not be able to see under certain conditions. Each Autonomous Robot also features a sensitive 16-microphone array with two-way audio functionality, allowing airport staff to have a live conversation with a person within the garage using the robot itself as the communication medium.

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