ABB strikes robotics partnership with Sevensense

By Dominic Ellis
ABB will integrate Sevensense’s AI and 3D mapping technology with its autonomous mobile robotics offering

ABB is entering into a strategic partnership with Swiss-based start-up Sevensense, founded in 2018 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich, to enhance ABB’s new autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) offering with AI and 3D vision mapping technology.

It claims the technology will offer customers "unprecedented levels of flexibility" as mobile robots will be able to navigate autonomously in complex, dynamic indoor and outdoor environments close to people.

The partnership marks another important step in ABB’s strategy to drive the next generation of flexible automation and expand ABB’s robotics and automation portfolio, following its acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics, a leading global AMR manufacturer, announced in July.

The partnership includes a minority investment in Sevensense through ABB’s venture capital unit, ABB Technology Ventures, which is expected to close by the end of November.

“Building on our acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics earlier this year, our partnership with Sevensense is another milestone in our efforts to fully unlock flexible automation for our customers,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation.

"Integrating Sevensense’s AI and 3D mapping technology with our AMR offering will help accelerate the replacement of today’s linear production lines with fully flexible networks. Our vision of the future workplace is one in which AMRs move materials, parts and finished products between smart workstations in increasingly unstructured, dynamic work environments and our partnership with Sevensense is an important step in realising that vision."

The Sevensense navigation technology uses advanced computer vision and AI algorithms to create a 3D map that is more accurate than today’s 2D solutions, leading to superior navigation capabilities, and more cost-effective solutions than laser scanner-based navigation.

Gregory Hitz, CEO of Sevensense Robotics, said: “Partnering with ABB lays the foundation for a long-term collaboration, while retaining our complete independence as a business. It allows us to mutually benefit from our expertise and create the best product for all of our customers in the long run.

"At the same time, the investment by ABB gives us planning security. We are very much looking forward to lifting our technology to a global scale and establishing Sevensense at the top of AI supported vision and navigation companies globally.”

OEMs and system integrators should investigate how they can facilitate more adoption, value and growth by bringing additional simplicity in three areas, notes McKinsey:

Simpler to apply
Potential end users will be increasingly likely to envision use cases for robots as the choice of robots and the talent with the requisite skill set to bring the robots online becomes more available. Simulation software can further close the gap between conceivability and installation by helping end users prove their design before committing to the final investment.

Simpler to connect
Readily available industrial connections, simpler integration of end effector, systems I/O, and communication can make robotics easier to implement within existing structures.

Simpler to run
Interactive or interconnected interfaces put even complex programming tasks in the hands of frontline operations, making factories less dependent on expert suppliers and engineering departments.

Robotics news updates

  • Fieldin, a leading smart farm operations management company for high-value crops, has acquired Midnight Robotics, a leader in agricultural autonomous driving.
  • Doosan Robotics was named as Honoree in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 Innovation Awards for its camera robot system, New Inspiration New Angle (NINA).
  • Vention, the cloud-based manufacturing automation platform (MAP), has added WMH Robotics (a division of Dexis Europe) to its Certified System Integrator network.
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) vendor ElectroNeek has signed a partnership with Initium SoftWorks, marking ElectroNeek's growing success as the RPA vendor of choice for managed service providers (MSPs) in North America.
  • HAI ROBOTICS, a leader in Autonomous Case-handling Robotics (ACR) system for warehouse fulfillment, has partnered with UK-based global logistics solutions engineering company Invar System.
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