Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Silicon Valley is not a leader in Robotics

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In Silicon Valley (SRI), the most effective, least invasive surgical treatment option available today was created.

You might be interested to learn that:

  • Of $29 billion of venture capital raised by companies in 2011, only about $160 million went to robotics companies.
  • There are currently 17 million robots at large in the world. At the current rate, the number of robots doubles approximately every 2.5 years.
  • About 80 robotics companies have been tracked in Boston compared with fewer than 40 in Silicon Valley.
  • In March, Amazon.com acquired Kiva for $775 million and plans to use its system to overhaul the online retail giant’s order fulfillment centers. Kiva started in Silicon Valley but moved to the Boston area where the investors were ready.
  • The USA east coast has natural assets like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which churns out leading robotics graduates. And several years ago, people in the robotics industry began to gather on a regular basis, holding regular robotics summits, educating VCs, lobbying state legislatures for research grant funding and educational funding. That was key in their leadership.

By Chris O:Brien, Mercury News Columnist, Posted:   05/05/2012 03:00:00 PM PDT

Attention, Silicon Valley: We are losing the robot war!

Not the apocalyptic one where robots rise up and enslave humans or wipe us out or turn us into cute pets. As far as I can tell, that one hasn’t started. Yet.

No, I’m talking about the battle to be the world’s capital of the emerging robotics industry. On Thursday, I attended a forum at SRI in Menlo Park called “The Future of Robotics in Silicon Valley and Beyond.” Given the growing chatter I hear, I assumed Silicon Valley was leading the robotics revolution as it does in, well, just about every other area of technology. I know that sounds like I’m being a valley snob, but it does have the merit of usually being true.

Usually, but not in this case. The robotics forum delivered a sobering message: Silicon Valley is sucking on the fumes of such regions as Boston and Pittsburgh, which have become the leading robotic regions. In general, much of the day felt like I had entered a Bizarro-alternative universe where the valley was a high-tech also-ran, the Des Moines of robotics, and other people came to lecture us about how to become a technology cluster, the importance of networking to drive innovation, and the need for venture capital to fund big ideas.

In other words, they were quoting from the playbook that Silicon Valley wrote!

“Robotics is one of those rare fields where rather than leading, Silicon Valley needs to play catch up,” said Wade Roush, editor of the

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  1. You are so right Teresa! Hopefully the article will allow some of the VCs to rethink their strategy and embrace new ideas like C-Robots. You are the leader and it might be fair to assume that the old guard will try to protect the past, rather than embrace the future.

    Stanford Crane

    7 May 12 at 11:07 pm

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