The Biggest Robotic Reveals at CES
Yo-Kai Express, Walmart, DJI, Ottonomy, John Deere, 1X Technologies
Last week was a big one, with the tech world gathering at CES in Las Vegas. In particular, there was no shortage of huge announcements reshaping the food automation and restaurant robotics space. And if you want some evidence that 2024 might already be off to a better start than 2023 was, we’ve got some even bigger fundraising news below as well.
Yo-Kai Express Adds Boba, Soup Dumplings
Yo-Kai Express may be famous for its ramen vending machines, but evidently the company has ambitions to serve more delicious foods that are a mix of liquids and solids. First, the company unveiled a boba robot, which you can see in action below. (Watch out, Bobacino, this robot can cook in the machine!) Company founder Andy Lin also shared that their machines can now dispense xiaolongbao — aka soup dumplings.
Walmart’s Drone Plans Take off in Dallas
Retail giant Walmart announced some big tech plans at CES, including Generative AI search and Shop with Friends social commerce. But its most impactful news was that its drone delivery service now covers 75% of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 1.8 million households in all. Working with Wing and Zipline, shoppers can get an aerial delivery in 10 to 30 minutes.
DJI Unveils FlyCart30
Walmart wasn’t the only brand with aerial delivery ambitions: drone giant DJI just revealed its new FlyCart30. The delivery drone has FAA Remote ID Compliance certification, a max payload of 30 kg (66 lb,) range of 16 km (10 mi,) and a max speed of 20 meters per second. The quadrotor can carry either a standard cargo container, or be mounted with a winch.
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Harbor Lockers + Ottonomy
Delivery bot startup Ottonomy announced a team up with delivery locker company Harbor Lockers, whereby the latter’s boxes are put on the former’s bots. While a delivery locker makes ecommerce’s last mile more convenient, this solution makes things even easier for shoppers with tricky schedules. Also teased at CES was a version of the Ottobot with a beer keg attached; hope it can check IDs!
John Deere’s Big Bot Picks Cotton
Moving up the food chain a bit, John Deere unveiled the latest versions of two of its most sizable farming machines: the CP770 and CS770, which can pick and strip cotton respectively. The newest iterations improve the level of automation, using RFIDs to track device location. Fun fact: one bale of cotton can create 16,000 socks!
1X Technologies Raises $100 Million
Okay, this one didn’t happen at CES specifically, but it’s a good omen for an industry that had a rough 2023. 1X Technologies just closed its $100M Series B, with participation from Samsung NEXT and EQT Ventures, less than a year after a Series A led by Tiger Global and OpenAI. The company’s androids, EVE and NEO, can be used in logistics / delivery applications, or for food preparation. (But we gotta say, maybe tone down that menacing smile they seem to always sport…)
In Other News
Dextrous Robotics shuts down. A look at new home kitchen tech unveiled at CES. Amazon shares robot facts. Miso Roboticsc plans smaller Flippy. CES’ “Worst in Show.” Investors and entrepreneurs look back at 2023, make predictions for 2024.