Elbit to lead Human-Robot Interaction Consortium

Elbit Systems’ C4I and Cyber group was chosen to lead the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) technologies research and development consortium, lately approved by the Israel Innovation Authority. The new consortium includes robotics companies and academic researchers in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, computer science and behavioral sciences. It will develop HRI infrastructures to address the needs of close interaction between robotic systems and human users through natural communications methodologies (verbal & gestures) and according to relevant social codes and robotic platforms level of autonomy.

Today, autonomous robotic platforms (those not continuously controlled by a human operator) operate in a “sterile” human-free environment, such as logistics centers and automated production and assembly lines. Integrating robots in a shared workspace environment with human teams will allow the transfer of routine, dull and burnout-inducing tasks to robots and reduce workloads on human teams, thereby increasing crew productivity and reducing their rotation. Such integration will only be possible when human crews feel confident and able to communicate naturally with robots, operating in their close environment.

Elbit is active in the field of autonomous systems and robotics and provides aerial, land and naval autonomous systems. Last month it made a demonstration for the Royal Netherlands Army, exhibiting the use of heterogeneous autonomous swarms working in cooperation with human teams. During the capability demonstration, different robotic pairings operated as swarms autonomously performing three types of operational missions. The missions included planning, navigating to predefined points, allocating sectors and the performance of various tasks.

Percepto and Boston Dynamics to provide Multi-robot Inspection

Boston Dynamics and Percepto from Modi’in, Israel, have combined their products into an autonomous monitoring and inspection solution for dangerous and remote industrial sites. Founded in 2014, Percepto has developes the autonomus industrial drone Sparrow, as a drone-in-a-box solution. Sparrow was adopted to monitor some of the world’s leading utility, oil & gas sites, mining and other critical infrastructure facilities.

Lately the company moved to a higher level: It created an Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring (AIM) platform that can manage a fleet of third-party robots alongside Sparrow drone. By installing its own PerceptoCore payload on each drone, the cloud-based AIM provides visual data management and analysis to report trends and anomalies and to alert of risks. When a member of staff request data, Percepto AIM deploys the most suitable robot independently without human accompaniment to retrieve and stream the required data.

Here comes the cooperation with Boston Dynamics: Spot is an agile doglike mobile robot developed by Boston Dynamics that navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility. Percepto has integrated Spot with its AIM for automated inspection rounds completely controlled remotely via the platform. Spot carries Percepto’s PerceptoCore payload, which includes high resolution imaging and thermal vision sensors.

Spot and Sparrow working together at the Dead Sea, Israel
Spot and Sparrow working together at the Dead Sea, Israel

They are able detect issues including hot spots on machines or electrical conductors, water and steam leaks around plants and equipment with degraded performance, with the data relayed via AIM. “Combining Percepto’s Sparrow drone with Spot creates a unique solution for remote inspection,” said Michael Perry, VP at Boston Dynamics.

This week the company also won a financing boost to its vision: A strategic investment of $45 million in Series B funding led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) to launch its solution for remote, fully autonomous, asset monitoring and inspection. It brings the total investment in the company to $72.5 million.

temi Raised $20 Million for Tablet-based Personal Robot

temi from Tel-Aviv has completed a $20 Million financial raising round to boost the sales of its unique home robot, mainly in the US and China. With the last round, the 5 years old 100 employees startup had raised a total of $82 million. Among the new investors in the company is the Chinese wellness giant, OGAWA group, who joined the company with $5 million investment. OGAWA’s VP for innovation, Rafi Aviram, told Techtime that this investment will be followed by a strategic cooperation between the two companies.

Temi combines the qualities of modern digital assistants with the mobility of a robot. It follows its user in the house and connects him with friends, smart devices, media and video
communications, by voice and gestures. Temi’s interaction is based on patented ROBOX technology comprised of 16 sensors, object recognition, and face recognition enabling temi to autonomously navigate around the home or office.

The idea came up a few years ago when the founder and CEO Yossi Wolf went to visit his grandmother. Spending an afternoon with her he noticed how shaky her hands were and how difficult it was for her to hold a cup of tea. At that moment, he decided to creat temi for her. Invetment by the Lead Investor and Former CTO of Alibaba – John Wu – who assisted in raising a $60 Million
capital  – was the starting point of the company.

Today temi is a global company with offices in Shenzhen China (production), New York (Marketing&Sales), Tel Aviv (R&D), and Singapore. The first batch of robots just went out lately fom flex factory in China, and the company is focused now mainly on sales and marketing.