Automats Come Back, 3D Cake Printing, Robo-Convenience Store
CMU's new driverless tech, Geekplus expands, Amazon Fresh falters
Monday, monday, monday! Don’t you wish a machine could bring you a tasty treat, or peppy coffee to help you kick off the week? Well we’ve got the next best thing: some encouraging robotics and automation news below.
Automats Make Comeback
Remember the humble automat? They may have been a “high-tech” staple of a century ago, but as decades went by, consumers tired of plopping coins into a vending machine to receive fresh-ish food from a little sliding window. Now Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is bringing the concept back, albeit with fresher foods and more up to date payment options. CBS profiles the owner and his 28-store chain in this video.
Beehex Cake Printer Comes to Kroger
Grocery giant Kroger is testing Beehex's cake-printing robot, the Cake Writer, at a location in Gahanna, Ohio. This machine allows customers to create custom cake messages that are then printed onto the cake within minutes. The startup, led by CEO Anjan Contractor, plans to install 10 more machines in Columbus next year and potentially up to 350 with Kroger in the future. Each machine costs about $10,000 when mass-produced, with monthly cloud database management costing $50 and each 20 oz frosting cartridge running $5-6. The company also has machines for decorating cookies and other treats.
CMU Releases New Autonomous Exploration System
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have developed a suite of robotic systems that enable autonomous exploration of uncharted and hazardous environments, resulting in faster and more accurate map creation. The systems, developed by the Autonomous Exploration Research Team, employ a 3D scanning lidar sensor, a forward-looking camera, inertial measurement unit sensors, and an exploration algorithm to determine the robot's current location, previous routes, and next destination. These systems, which are platform-agnostic, can be deployed in various environments, including residential buildings and stores, especially in post-disaster scenarios. The robots operate in three modes: manual control, point navigation, and full autonomy. This advancement, which has already been tested in several indoor and outdoor environments including mines, is considered more efficient than prior approaches, as it reduces run time by half while creating more comprehensive maps, even in challenging conditions such as low light and poor communication. Which delivery robotics startup will be the first to apply this technology to its bot?
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Geekplus Conquers Asia
Geekplus Technology Co., a developer of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), announced that its goods-to-person picking systems will be used to prepare free treat bags for Singapore's National Day Parade on August 9, 2023. According to Dave Ching, the director of sales for Southeast Asia and India at Geek+, the Beijing-based company, founded in 2015, strives to improve its products to enable efficient, affordable, and safe logistics processes in warehousing. In preparation for the parade, Geek+'s robots will streamline the assembly of giveaway bags by automatically transporting inventory to the picker at the station. Less than a week prior, the company celebrated the implementation of its packet sorting system into Hong Kong’s postal network.
DoBot and VenHub Plan Robotic Convenience Stores
DoBot Robotics, a collaborative robot (cobot) arms developer, has entered a Letter of Intent with VenHub, a modular retail platform developer. This initiates exploratory discussions that the companies hope lead to a fully deployed collaboration. By integrating VenHub's innovative retail systems with DoBot’s advanced robotics, the companies aim to intertwine operational efficiencies with the consumer experience. VenHub is currently developing fully autonomous, AI-driven smart stores, where customers order through a tablet, and a robot arm picks up their orders. Meanwhile, DoBot's products have an array of capabilities, up to a 20 kg payload.
In Other News
Refraction AI’s CEO shares company roadmap. Cruise robotaxis head to Nashville. Waymo emphasizing passenger and food delivery at the expense of long-haul trucking. Amazon Fresh closes multiple UK locations, including first with Just-Walk-Out tech.