Today UK startup SLAMcore, which is developing spatial AI algorithms for robots and drones, has secured €4.4 million in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures and MMC Ventures, with participation from Amadeus Capital Partners and Toyota AI Ventures.
The funding will allow SLAMcore to meet the increasing demand of the robotics market, which has seen demand skyrocket due to COVID-19. This has occurred particularly in drone, robots and AR/VR usage, as effective robotics solutions that can support the challenges of the ‘new normal’ from staff shortages and social distancing rules in healthcare, to manufacturing and supply chains. Ground robots are already being used throughout China to spray disinfectant in hospitals and trains, and to allow doctors to test patients for COVID without any physical contact.
However, large-scale roll-out of robots is still limited despite high demand, as companies struggle to overcome the number one cause of robotic failure: lack of spatial understanding. Robots and drones require spatial intelligence, including the ability to accurately calculate their position, understand unfamiliar surroundings, and navigate with consistent reliability. SLAMcore offers Spatial AI solutions designed to easily integrate into existing platforms, allowing robotics companies to concentrate on delivering value to the end customer.
The new funding will specifically speed up the availability of SLAMcore’s solutions, including its recently announced SDK product, a toolkit that gives developers everything they need to build, test and deploy solutions using SLAMcore algorithms and low-cost, easily available off-the-shelf sensors.
Owen Nicholson, CEO at SLAMcore, commented: “Even before the crisis, SLAMcore was engaged in many conversations with companies – big and small – who needed a better way to solve spatial intelligence issues in robotics. Especially across sectors such as drones, robots, and AR/VR, the coronavirus pandemic has lit the touch-paper and we are primed to meet exploding demand. In the past few weeks alone, we have seen a huge spike in enquiries as robotics companies want fast solutions to get their robots to market sooner.”
Mina Samaan, Principal at MMC Ventures, commented: “We are very excited by the advancements in next generation software platforms used to drive the future of robotics. The ability to locate and map in real-time is still unsolved in the vast majority of autonomous designs. Therefore, affordable SLAM delivered as-a-service at scale is fundamental to unlocking the adoption of self-driving robots across all indoor and outdoor applications including agriculture, warehousing and last-mile delivery.”
Zoe Chambers, Principal at Octopus Ventures, commented: “In a post-pandemic world, where contactless and hygienic interactions are vital, demand for robotic solutions will only increase. Whether they’re moving around warehouses, delivering food, disinfecting hospitals or operating as security guards, robots will be interacting with multiple dynamic environments and even with humans. This means that their ability to move autonomously is absolutely fundamental. SLAMcore’s solution lies at the heart of this by giving robots spatial intelligence and we are excited to continue to back the business as the market accelerates.”