Top 10 robotic stories of February 2023

From seeing Boston Dynamics’ Stretch robot at work in a DHL facility to Alphabet closing down one of its robotics subsidiaries, there was no shortage of robotics news in February 2023. 

Here are the top 10 most popular stories on The Robot Report in February 2023. Subscribe to The Robot Report Newsletter or listen to The Robot Report Podcast to stay updated on the robotics stories you need to know about.

10. Soft robotic wearable restores arm function for people with ALS

Some 30,000 people in the U.S. are affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Now, a team of researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has developed a soft robotic wearable capable of significantly assisting upper arm and shoulder movement in people with ALS. Read More

9. What slowdown? – December 2022 robotics investments reach $1.14B

December 2022’s 55 robotics investments totaled US $1.14B, a 7.7% increase over December 2021’s funding total. Investment into companies providing robotics solutions for autonomous ground transportation such as sensors, autonomy ‘stacks’ and ‘drivers’, and whole cloth systems, was particularly strong. Read More

8. Alphabet closes Everyday Robots among layoffs

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is shutting down its subsidiary Everyday Robots, according to reporting from Wired. On January 20, 2023, Alphabet announced it would be laying off around 12,000 workers, 6% of its workforce, and Everyday Robots is one of the few projects disbanded as part of the budget cuts. Read More

7. Rapid Robotics to offer Yaskawa industrial robots

Rapid Robotics announced a brand-new integration with Yaskawa America, Inc., Motoman Robotics Div. (Yaskawa Motoman) that will bring industrial capabilities to Rapid Robotics’ Rapid Machine Operator (RMO). The company is now integrated with the entire Yaskawa robotics portfolio. Read More

6. Rapid Robotics and Universal Robots team up to accelerate cobot deployments

Rapid Robotics and Universal Robots (UR) just announced a new partnership. UR, a Danish company that makes collaborative robots (cobots), will supply Rapid Robotics with collaborative robot arms so that it can set up cobot work cells all over North America. This means that Rapid Robotics will be able to serve more customers and keep the quick deployment times that customers have come to expect, even as Rapid Robotics continues to grow across the country. Read More

5. 5 top robotics trends to watch in 2023

Robot installations hit an all-time high in 2021, with the International Federation of Robotics’ (IFR) data showing over 500,000 new industrial robots were installed that year. In North America, robot sales hit an all-time high for the second year in a row in 2022, according to the Associate for Advancing Automation (A3), bringing in $2.38 billion. Read More

4. How ChatGPT can control robots

Researchers at Microsoft, which has invested billions into OpenAI and recently integrated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, extended the capabilities of ChatGPT to control a robotic arm and aerial drone. Microsoft released a technical paper that describes a series of design principles that can be used to guide language models toward solving robotics tasks. Read More

3. 10 industries China is focusing on automating

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, along with 17 other agencies, has created a new action plan called the “Robot + Application Action Plan.” This plan lays out 10 industries the country wants to focus on developing robotic systems for and overarching goals for the country’s robotics industry to hit by 2025. Read More

2. Inside Zoox’s upgraded robotaxi test fleet

Since its founding eight years ago, Zoox, a company developing autonomous vehicles (AVs) and now a subsidiary of Amazon, has been working towards its goal of creating a purpose-built autonomous vehicle, with no steering wheel. Zoox has an extensive, recently upgraded testing fleet that is verifying the effectiveness of its autonomous driving technology. Read More

1. Watch Boston Dynamics’ Stretch unload a DHL trailer

Boston Dynamics is officially putting its Stretch robot into the hand of its customers. Its first commercial application is with DHL Supply Chain, a company that Boston Dynamics has been collaborating with since 2018, when it began developing Stretch. Read More

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