ABB (Oerlikon, Switzerland) has acquired Sevensense, a startup founded in 2018 (Zurich, Switzerland) and provider of AI-enabled 3D vision navigation technology for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Sevensense describes its technology as a multi-camera Visual SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) solution “in-a-box” for mobile robots combined with AI-enabled local perception and navigation. The technology allows mobile autonomous platforms to navigate complex, dynamic environments and work alongside people, according to the company, a spinoff from ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland), a technical university.
The technology “uses multiple visual cameras mounted on the moving robot to observe its surroundings in real-time. Fusing the image data with inertial data gathered as the robot advances creates a highly accurate 3D map of the space surrounding it. By matching the images it sees with those stored in the map, the robot can localize itself instantly anywhere within that space,” Sevensense says on its website.
Maps also are shared across a fleet of mobile robots.
ABB’s acquisition of Sevensense is part of a growing relationship between the two companies. Sevensense won ABB Robotics’ Innovation Challenge in 2021, which led to ABB’s investment in Sevensense’s Series A funding round.
After pilot projects, ABB says it plans to integrate Sevensense’s technology into ABB’s AMR portfolio, according to a news release.
ABB says Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, MI, USA) plans to roll out the technology with ABB's AMRs at production sites in the United States. Meanwhle, Michelin (Clermont-Ferrand, France) will use the Visual SLAM technology and robot combination for intralogistics operations at its factory in Spain.
Commenting on the decision to acquire Sevensense, Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation, says, “This marks a significant step towards our vision of a workplace where AI-enabled robots assist people, addressing our customers' needs for greater flexibility and intelligence amidst critical skilled labor shortages.”