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Will a next-gen robot take on FM?

A Silicon Valley-based robotics firm says it has secured funding to develop a robot capable of taking on a service industry duty – but what could it be?

Savioke (pronounced “savvy oak”) has announced it plans to begin customer trials later this year to develop the autonomous robots for the services industry.

The robotics firm, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, in California’s Silicon Valley, has raised $2 million (approx £1.2m) in seed financing from lead investor Morado Venture Partners, along with AME Cloud Ventures, Google Ventures, and individual investors to further develop its inaugural robot, focusing on the services industry.

There is a possible hint to what the robot’s creators may have in mind for their next invention in an early blog post: Savioke CEO Steve Cousins talks about there being ‘more to the world’ than just homes and factories, writing:

“There is a whole service industry in the middle, with hospitals, restaurants, hotels, elder care facilities, offices, that is virtually untouched by robotic hands – hundreds of billions of dollars of market opportunity, virtually untapped.”

Cousins and the team at Savioke established the company in 2013. Cousins was previously president and CEO of the personal robotics pioneer Willow Garage, where he oversaw the creation of the robot operating system (ROS), the PR2 robot, and the open source TurtleBot. In the last three years of his tenure at Willow Garage, Cousins also managed the successful spin-off of eight different robotics companies. Cousins said:

“We are passionate about delivering easy-to-use yet sophisticated robots that can help people. Our goal is to improve the lives of people by developing and deploying robotic technology in service environments.”

Andy Wheeler, General Partner at Google Ventures, said:

“As the lines continue to blur between industrial and personal robotics industries, Google Ventures is thrilled to be working with an exceptional group of people at Savioke. Steve and his team already have had a lot to do with moving the robotics industry forward. The next act promises to be even more revolutionary.”

Ash Patel, managing director at Morado Venture Partners, said:

“In Savioke, we see an exceptional team focused on a substantial problem. They have a unique vision for bringing autonomous service robots to market, and the technology chops and proven track record to build an outstanding robot.” 

The company’s robot will utilise and build upon ROS, the open source robot operating system.





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