Techcrunch Robotics and AI 2019 #TCRobotics

Nextbigfuture is live blogging at the Techcrunch Robotics and AI 2019 conference.

There is a panel :
Building a Better Robotics Company
with Nima Keivan (Canvas),
anish Kothari (SRI International), and
Melonee Wise (Fetch Robotics)

Canvas was acquired by Amazon. There was an alignment of vision for adaptive robotics.

Amazon acquired Canvas Technology to bolster warehouse robotics capabilities. Canvas has autonomous vehicles in industrial settings. Amazon has huge use of robots in warehouses.

Canvas Technology CTO says we are still testing the limits of the hardware and software.

There are other exits besides acquisition. Amazon has been a high profile acquirer but Melonee points out there are huge acquisitions from China.

China has over half of the robotic acquisitions. They just bought a robotics company for $3 billion. China is making huge investments and deployment.

Manish indicates that cobots are better for settings outside of industrial. He is optimistic about adoption outside of traditional manufacturing and industry. Healthcare and other sectors are huge new opportunities for robot companies. There will be a huge expansion.

In the next ten years, Melonee talked about the need to firm up IP regulation. There will be a lot of sensor development but currently sensors are too focused on the automotive market. There needs to be more sensors for other robots. The main factor for the next ten years is more investment in education.

Manish indicates robotics as a service is a huge new trend which can allow for fast return on investment.

Melonee tells new companies to hire a good lawyer and do not go cheap there.

There is the need for a strong technical team and correct product focus.

The panel talked about getting investors who have the patience for investing in robotics. They need to have the patience to stick for a ten-year journey.

Manish Kothari SRI Ventures

Manish Kothari, Ph.D., is president of SRI Ventures and is a vice president of SRI International. In this role, he leads the creation of high-value venture opportunities and is intimately involved in the venture creation process from concept through market development, team building, technology transition, seed funding, partner and investor identification, and launch.

Manish is a seasoned Board member, and is on multiple boards of companies focused on AI, Robotics and medical technology.

At SRI, Manish has been involved in a number of key areas around robotics and automation. He helped create and continues to serve on the board of companies such as Superflex Robotics and Abundant Robotics. He was one of the team members who helped shepherd Verb Surgical – a 2nd generation surgical robotics company initiated at SRI that now has over strong funding from J&J and Google.

Manish has a strong background in diverse areas such as medical technology, robotics and AI/NLP, and has been a serial entrepreneur since completing his post-doctoral position at UCSF. Prior to that he received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Nima Keivan CTO of Canvas Technology

Nima Keivan is CTO of Canvas Technology. Canvas is utilizing Spatial AI to power autonomous systems in dynamic and chaotic environments. Canvas robots see their environment in rich 3D by using cameras to map, localize, and perceive, enabling intelligent and safe behavior indoors or out and in GPS-denied environments. Canvas builds their own autonomous vehicles and licenses their technology to transform industrial vehicles from other companies into intelligent autonomous systems.

In addition to co-founding Canvas, Nima has a PhD in Computer Science with a focus on visual-inertial dense and sparse SLAM as well as planning and control for agile autonomous ground vehicles.

Fetch Robotics – The Cloud Robotics Platform for On-Demand Automation

Fetch Robotics provides the market’s only cloud-driven Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) solution that addresses material handling and data collection for warehousing and intralogistics environments. Fetch Robotics’ AMRs reduce costs and improve throughput, efficiency, and productivity, while working alongside people.

Melonee Wise is the CEO of Fetch Robotics. Melonee was the second employee at Willow Garage, a research and development laboratory extremely influential in the advancement of robotics. While there, she led a team of engineers developing next-generation robot hardware and software, including ROS, the PR2, and TurtleBot. Melonee was a 2015 recipient of MIT Technology Review’s TR35 award for technology innovators under the age of 35 and has been named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Women of Influence and 40 Under 40 lists. In 2017, Business Insider named her as one of eight CEOs changing the way we work. Under her leadership, Fetch Robotics won the MODEX Innovation Award for the materials handling industry, as well as being named to RBR 50, a listing of the 50 most innovative robotics companies in the world.

SOURCES- Live coverage of Techcrunch Robotics and AI 2019
Written By Brian Wang,