With the advent of drones that fly near continuously and self driving transport vehicles, there is little doubt that robotics will be a dominating technology theme for the next few decades. Over time, we would expect to see more and more autonomous robots around us going about doing automated tasks. There are now robots that sling pizzas, robots that make delicious looking hamburgers, ground robots that make deliveries, robots that perform assisted surgeries, and robots that can be trained on a factory floor to perform tasks that humans do. If you’re scared that a robot is going to steal your kid’s entry level job that they will use to support themselves while in college, well frankly you should be. One way you can hedge your child’s future income streams from being stolen by robots is to invest in robotics.
We gave you a list of 20 publicly traded robotics companies that you can invest in, but where the real innovation will come from is the high-risk world of startups. You need to be aware of what small, nimble companies are getting up to because they may eventually steal market share from the publicly traded company you’re holding in your portfolio if not displace it entirely. This is why we like to spotlight exciting robotics startups to make sure you’re aware of everyone who has a dog in this race. In this article, we want to highlight a great robotics company called Clearpath Robotics.
Founded in 2009, Canadian startup Clearpath Robotics has taken in $41.5 million in total funding with their Series B funding round of $30 million closing just last week from a pool of investors who included Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and General Electric (NYSE:GE). The Company was started by four college friends who loved building robots and was profitable just 15 months after it was founded. On the Clearpath Robotics website, we came across maybe the most compelling slogan we’ve ever seen and if we could, we’d plaster this slogan across the walls of every corporate office in America:
That says a lot about the type of startup Clearpath Robotics is, and they’re using all that funding they’ve secured to “automate the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs“. The Company offers an entire suite of autonomous robots that can be applied across a broad number of industries, some of which can be seen below:
Above you can see that Clearpath Robotics has built autonomous robots for land, sea, and air which are used by an impressive list of customers that include Dow Chemical, the U.S. Army, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Defense, Honda, Intel, John Deere, General Electric, and many others.
When looking at what specific direction Clearpath will take, we see that the $30 million in funding they just closed last week will be used to “grow the company’s industrial division” which is called Otto Motors. Companies like John Deere and GE are already using Clearpath’s autonomous material handling robots in their facilities even though they only recently their first OTTO product less than a year ago. Fast forward to today, and they have an entire platform built around their OTTO autonomous robots that move materials around warehouses, some of which can be seen below:
These autonomous robots have a 4-6 hour runtime and are capable of transporting up to 3,300 pounds. These vehicles move using onboard sensors only, meaning you don’t need to guide them using magnetic tape or beacons (much like the Seegrid robot forklifts we talked about before). While you can get the whole thing up and running with just a tablet, a server, and a charging station, the platform also supports enterprise integrations with popular providers like SAP and Oracle.
While Clearpath Robotics has developed all kinds of cool looking autonomous robots, all signs seem to point towards material handling as the area of focus for the company going forward which is evident by their new round of funding which will be used for just that. As one of their investors stated, “Clearpath Robotics is laying the foundation for entirely new business models enabled by artificial intelligence, autonomy, and automation“. We’re looking forward to seeing more of that coming from this impressive “no B.S.” startup.
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