Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for July, 2012

Why Amazon acquired Kiva?

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by Mark P. Mills, 3/23/2012

Amazon’s enormous, automated and well-organized warehouses are the stuff of legend, as are their path-breaking joint ventures with vendors, repair operations and UPS shipping. Still, physical order fulfillment reportedly costs nearly 9 percent of their $40 billion in global revenues.

Amazon was amongst the first to build data centers at Cloud scale – a scale that Google engineers labeled “warehouse scale computing.”   But to disrupt traditional retail Amazon had to do more than create a customer-friendly Web interface for their warehouse-scale computers.  They had to solve the old-fashioned physical warehouse problem in order to distribute the objects they sold.

Enter Kiva’s robots, and their inevitable progeny; the logical connection between the cyber and physical worlds. Think of Kiva bots as the hands and feet of the Cloud. They are not autonomous Star-Trek-like agents, but are wirelessly connected to and controlled by the Cloud in real-time.

When you tap “place your order” on your iPad’s touch-screen you are literally reaching through the Cloud to become one with Kiva to grab a box in the warehouse. Such robots are practical today because of a confluence of enabling technologies; cheap and powerful processing and communications, advanced electro-motive power, and clever software. All this is the domain of computing and square in Amazon’s wheelhouse.

Amazon needs to own Kiva for the same reason they own computing.

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Automated robotic warehousing is a hot investment focus

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Amazon just acquired Kiva Systems for $775 million and now Permira, a European private equity firm, announced that it was acquiring Intelligrated for an amount in excess of $500 million! The deal is expected to close after the summer.

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How NASA plans to land a 2000 pound rover on Mars

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A month from now, the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover is set to touch down on the surface of the Red Planet and begin its mission to learn more about the possible existence of life – past or present. Curiosity will attempt to touch down using a complex and unusual landing sequence unlike any other used for previous Mars rovers … here’s how the plan will unfold.

The entire process will be executed completely autonomously, managed not by human intervention.

The technology behind the landing is an interplay of hardware and software. On the software side, the computer algorithms that guide each part of the craft can be tested from Earth, simulations can be run, and new software updates can be installed – the final stable version was uploaded in the last few days of May.

Testing the hardware was not nearly as easy, since the right conditions can’t be recreated on Earth…

By , July 5, 2012

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Investing in Service Robotics, a quickly growing industry

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Service Robotics is a quickly growing industry. Many new robotics companies are born every day. It will be the next revolution. If you want to know who the main players are and understand this arena a bit more, I recommend you read this incredibly well done piece of research about the robotics stock market by Frank Tobe, editor and publisher of The Robot Report, who is also an investor in the robotics area, therefore with personal experience and interest on it.

The future of robotics goes totally towards the incorporation of more intelligence.
Intelligence includes, among other things, perception (interpreting the environment and extracting the most relevant information from it), reasoning (inferring new knowledge from the one we perceive, i.e. if we know that A implies B, and B implies C, then we can infer that A implies C); learning (as many people have pointed out in this thread already); and decision making to implement solutions to particular applications (such as security, companion, tele-presence robots, autonomous scrubber machines, vacuum cleaners, etc).

At Cognitive Robots, we have developed the first embryonic brain called “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics” -CR-B100-, which integrates all these four aspects, in a patent pending software.
We have tested the “brain” in several “bodies” with great results.

Please, check this post (http://wp.me/p2hKFw-8U) for more information. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Teresa Escrig

July 2nd, 2012 at 5:32 am