snackbot

Hack@Fetch

 

Recently, fetchrobotics held our second annual company-wide hackathon. Our goal with these events is to bring everyone together to build something cool using our product and learn as much as possible in the process.

It was determined that the focus of the day would be to build “snackbot”. A freight robot with our new HMIshelf would be loaded with snacks, and could be called to any location in the building to deliver these much needed snacks to our team. To prepare for the event, we purchased a small fridge, a pile of Amazon Dash buttons, and a boatload of snacks (for testing purposes).

There were a few ground rules for the day. First, our fetchcore server was completely locked down. Nobody was allowed to modify the codebase, and we would have to build our entire snack solution using only the existing APIs that we had built for our customers. Second, everyone participated — that means production folks, sales associates, and more — not just engineering! Third, the event had a time limit, snack delivery had to commence before 5pm.

Throughout the course of the day everyone was invited to explore outside their typical roles in the company. Our accounting and mechanical engineering teams created and annotated a new building map using our web-based user interfaces. Most of the people seen assembling and wiring snackbot are actually software engineers, or not engineers at all. This event was a chance for our employees to better understand our product, and our business, as a whole.

The event was highly successful. Snacks were delivered. Fun was had. A number of enhancements to our user interfaces and API workflow were proposed. More snacks were delivered.

If you want to be part of our next hackathon, please check out our Careers page as we currently have a number of openings available across the organization.

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Dynamic Obstacle Tracking

 

For his internship at Fetch Robotics during the winter of 2015/2016, Andrew Vaziri worked on a new costmap layer for better robot navigation in dynamic environments. His intern video describes how the costmap layer tracks dynamic obstacles, especially other robots. Using data from the laser range finder, robots are detected using a machine learning algorithm called “Random Forests”. Each potential robot instance is then tracked using a filter which can aggregate the data across several laser range finder scans.

We have finally caught up with editing, so check back soon to see even more intern videos over the next couple of weeks.

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Graph-based SLAM

 

During his first internship at Fetch Robotics in the summer of 2015, Luc Bettaieb worked on making improvements to the ROS GraphSLAM package, slam_karto.  In his intern video, you will hear about how he sped up the algorithm’s optimizer, added better graph visualization, and began work on a manual loop-closure tool.

Luc just completed his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering with a focus in artificial intelligence and robotics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.  After his second internship at Fetch Robotics this summer, he will return to Case Western for a year of graduate school to complete his master’s degree in electrical engineering.  We hope to see him again soon!

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Robotics Business Review Names Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2016

SAN JOSE, CA, February 16, 2016 – Robotics Business Review (RBR) has unveiled its fifth annual RBR50 list, naming Fetch Robotics as one of the most noteworthy companies in the global robotics industry for 2016.

With the robotics industry more competitive than ever, new companies are popping up all the time. Of those companies, the RBR50 list outlines those who should be kept on your business radar.RBR50 companies are recognized based on their innovation, groundbreaking application(s), commercial success and potential, and represent many different levels and facets of the robotics ecosystem. “Everyone at Fetch is delighted with this award from Robotics Business Review,” according to Fetch Robotics CEO Melonee Wise. “This recognition is one of the many validation points we have received of late indicating that we are on the right path.”

This international compilation spans 11 countries and in addition to the large conglomerates, 23% of the list is comprised of lesser-known startups. The RBR50 list is dynamic, with robotics companies entering and leaving on an annual basis and thus creating a list that is indicative of where the global robotics industry as a whole is headed. “The World Economic Forum cites 2016 as the launch of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and has tabbed robotics as the lead player in that transformation. Each of the RBR50 for 2016 should be duly proud that the robotics community has selected them to lead this charge,” said Tom Green, RBR Editor in Chief.

About Robotics Business Review

Robotics Business Review provides business intelligence for the global robotics industry. Members enjoy excusive insights into global news, tracking of financial transactions, analysis of new technologies and companies, annual and quarterly research reports, access to the RBR50 Top 50 Companies list and much more. Visit RoboticsBusinessReview.com.

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Fetch Robotics Expands Executive Team

Executives from Magellan and Willow Garage Leadership Join Logistics Pioneer

SAN JOSE, Calif. – January 14, 2016 — Fetch Robotics today announced two recent additions to the company’s executive team.  Peggy Fong joined as Chief Operations Officer and Dave Robson was named Chief of Staff.

Ms. Fong and Mr. Robson will help to support the rapid growth of Fetch, a pioneer in building robots for the logistics and material handling industries.

Peggy-small-B&WMost recently the President at Magellan GPS, Peggy Fong brings more than twenty years of experience combining emerging technologies with business know-how. As President, Fong helped to build a cloud service for the connected car market.  Fong has experience in financial, operational, product plans, sales & marketing, and executive functions.

Prior to Magellan, Fong acted as both CFO and COO at Optovue, where her responsibilities included all accounting and cash flow management, investor relations, HR, compliance and training, and broad supply chain management duties including logistics and manufacturing.  Prior to Optovue, Fong was SVP Financial Operations with SYYNEX, a global IT supply chain service.

“Peggy’s innovative approach to corporate management and business operations, combined with the use of analytics in improving operational performance, are assets that will make us a more efficient and profitable organization,” added Wise.

ROBSONDave Robson will support Fetch Robotics’ team of world-class scientists and engineers in building a culture and infrastructure to support the rapid growth in staff.  Robson will also support client and partner liaison for organizations adopting the Fetch and Freight robots.

Robson joins Fetch Robotics with forty years of experience in research and technology organizations, including thirty-three years at Xerox’s PARC and more recently at robotics company Willow Garage.

“Dave’s experience as a scientist and engineer, as well as leading organizational development in the robotics field, will be critical as we grow our business,” Wise added.

 

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Robot Calibration

 

During her internship at Fetch Robotics, Niharika focused on the calibration stack for Fetch. This past summer, she improved calibration by using the ground plane to determine better camera intrinsics, especially for using head camera sensor data when navigating.

Niharika is currently on her second internship at Fetch Robotics during this fall semester. And we are pleased to say that Niharika will be joining us as a full time employee after she completes her final semester at the Georgia Institute of Technology next summer. We look forward to the remainder of Niharika’s fall internship and we can’t wait for her return as a full time employee in May 2016.

 

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Vacuum Gripper Design

 

During his internship at Fetch Robotics, Andrew Zeller designed, fabricated, and tested various vacuum gripper concepts. In his intern video, you will see his final vacuum gripper design and its ability to lift large items.

With the possibility of alternative end effectors, such as Andrew’s vacuum gripper, the Fetch robot can expand on its capabilities and diversify the types of materials and products it can handle.

We are disappointed to have Andrew’s internship come to an end. However, we are excited about his contributions and the doorway to possible gripper designs he has opened. We hope to have him return for an additional internship before he completes his education at the University of Alabama.

 

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Automated Test Stands for Production

During his internship at Fetch Robotics, Camilo Buscaron built an automated test stand for testing production circuit boards. His efforts ensure that each robot meets a high production standard before it is released into the world. His work also helps expedite our manufacturing capabilities by keeping this testing in-house.

Given that quality control is very important at Fetch Robotics, Camilo was offered a position as a Robotics Engineer and is now a full time “Fetcher”. Since he has come onboard full time, his responsibilities have expanded to fulfilling the goals of our electrical engineering department not only in manufacturing and production but new technology development as well.

Camilo has joined the Fetch team in advancing robotics with new hardware development and compelling software solutions for our customers. Camilo entered Fetch Robotics with the first batch of interns and has made a tremendous impact. We look forward to his contributions moving forward!

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SoftBank Leads $20 Million Investment in Fetch Robotics

Fetch Robotics announced today that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding.  The round was led by SB Group US, Inc. (“SoftBank”) and also included additional funding from seed investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Shasta Ventures. The Series A round brings Fetch’s total funding to date to $23 million.  The new capital will be used to expand Fetch’s sales and marketing operations and to meet accelerating demand from warehouses and fulfillment centers.

In addition, SoftBank’s Kabir Misra will be added to Fetch Robotics’ board of directors.  He will join existing board members Bryce Roberts from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Rob Coneybeer from Shasta Ventures, Steve Hogan from Tech-Rx, and Fetch Robotics CEO Melonee Wise.

Unveiled in April of this year, the Fetch Robotics system is comprised of a mobile base (called Freight) and an advanced mobile manipulator (called Fetch).  Fetch and Freight use a charging dock for autonomous continuous operations, allowing the robots to charge when needed and then continue on with their tasks.  In addition, the system includes accompanying software to support the robots and integrate with the warehouse environment.  The robots are designed to work independently alongside human workers, performing repetitive tasks such as warehouse delivery, pick and pack, and more.

According to Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap, “The demand for shorter lead times has become an imperative for inbound logistics in support of production, with the proliferation of lean and just-in-time operations. However, this is also a competitive advantage for business-to-consumer (B2C) delivery, as the growth of Amazon Prime is proving.”

Furthermore, according to a recent ARC Advisory Group market study, Warehouse Automation and Control, “E-commerce and its profound effects on fulfillment requirements is stimulating widespread growth in warehouse automation and control system sales.”

“As businesses look for solutions to streamline operations and meet the needs of an on-demand economy, we see a tremendous opportunity for robotics to solve that problem,” says Kabir Misra, Managing Director at SB Group US, Inc. “The team, the robots, and the timing all lead us to Fetch Robotics and we are happy to join them in bringing Fetch and Freight to market.”

“I’m delighted to have SoftBank join the team and help us change the world of logistics and material handling,” said Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. “SoftBank’s expertise and worldwide resources with respect to technology, production, distribution and more will be a big help to our growing organization.”

About Fetch Robotics

Fetch Robotics builds robot systems for the logistics industry.  The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in San Jose, CA.  For more information, please visit http://www.fetchrobotics.comor follow the company on Twitter @FetchRobotics.

Press Contact:

Tim Smith
Element Public Relations
415-350-3019
tsmith@elementpr.com