Science Strikes Back: Robotics & Drones
July 13, 2020 | Abree Murch
Our “Science Strikes Back” series introduces some of the most exciting, forward-leaning venture investment sectors in deep tech. Our Deep Tech Fund co-invests alongside established deep tech venture firms in companies taking on the toughest and potentially most lucrative technological challenges. Our point of view is that the need has never been higher for scientific thought and innovations tackling hard problems. The fund is now open! Click below to learn more.
Deep Tech Focus #4 – Robotics & Drones
Defining the Space
There’s no universal agreement on how to define robots. But generally speaking, they are programmable machines acting on their own or at least semi-autonomously. Most robots rely on pattern matching and a sequence of instructions — unless enhanced with AI and machine learning.
Today robots are found in almost every industry, with over a million types employed. They range in sophistication from pre-programmed robots with basic, repetitious functions to augmented robots that can enhance or replace human capabilities (such as prosthetic leg) to teleoperated and autonomous robots.
Drones are flying robots — or more technically, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) — that are autonomous or operated remotely. Frequently, they’re used as untethered hands and eyes, used to inspect, monitor, search, deliver, video, and photograph across three dimensions.
Robots and drones are a deep tech example of an industry where new achievements and visions are being realized almost daily. As exciting as they are controversial, the media has made us ever more aware of the high-potential and risks involved in these specific sectors.
Applications and Benefits
Robotics technology can be applied in nearly every industry.
- Healthcare: surgical assistance, medical deliveries
- Construction: assembly, lifting, carrying, surveilling
- Agriculture: autonomous seeding, harvesting, crop dusting, monitoring
- Industrial: manufacturing, assembling, lifting and loading
- Scientific exploration: from space to underwater to inside our bodies, robots are used for discovery and analysis
- Emergency assistance: assessment, search and rescue, repairs
- Commerce: picking and packing, shipping and delivery
- Law enforcement: monitoring, detection
- Transportation: self-driving vehicles
The benefits of robots and UAVs include:
- Eliminating risky, tedious, burdensome, or unpleasant labor for humans
- Ability to operate in environments where humans can’t go
- Increased accuracy, precision, speed, efficiency, productivity
- Greater strength
- Greater reliability
- Lower operating costs
Innovations in the Wings
- Robots and drones will become smarter, more specialized, and more ubiquitous in a variety of industries, especially as we evolve to a low-touch society.
- Deep learning robots will increasingly function independently of human assistance in agriculture, construction, warehousing, and manufacturing.
- Robots & drones for our healthcare system will become more efficient, proficient, and ensure higher standards of care.
- Robots can now be deployed from long distances through a remote controller or sensors.
- Industries across the board may adopt robotic & drone delivery for goods in order to reduce costs, while increasing efficiency and sanitation.
In Our Portfolio
AVG Portfolio Companies in the Robotics/Drones Space
These are just a few of our portfolio companies advancing the tech of robots and drones:
- Anra: Provider of a cloud-based, unmanned air-traffic control platform and mobile operating software designed to support commercial drone operations
- Farmwise: Farming robots to facilitate autonomous cultivation and organic farming with the mission of building sustainable farming at scale
- Modbot: Provider of a robot development platform designed to implement creative technologies across different industries
- Teal Drones: Designed to improve augmented reality, security, and inspections
- Duality: A QA company aiming to increase safety and improve time to market for companies operating autonomous robotics