ABB's Quantum Leap: Sevensense Acquisition Redefines Robotics

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ABBImage Source: ABB

Synopsis:

ABB, a global technology leader, elevates its robotics prowess with the acquisition of Swiss start-up Sevensense. Specializing in AI-based 3D vision navigation for Autonomous Mobile Robots, Sevensense enhances ABB's capabilities in a rapidly expanding robotics market. The collaboration aims to address labor shortages by creating a workplace where AI-enabled robots equipped with cutting-edge vision technology operate autonomously, fostering flexibility and efficiency.

 

Article

In a strategic move to redefine the landscape of robotics, ABB, a global technology frontrunner, has announced the acquisition of Sevensense, a Swiss start-up renowned for its expertise in AI-enabled 3D vision navigation technology. The acquisition, finalized on January 11, 2024, positions ABB as a leader in next-generation Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) by integrating Sevensense's groundbreaking technology into its portfolio.

Sevensense, founded in 2018 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich, has emerged as a leader in AI-based navigation, enabling AMRs to achieve unprecedented levels of speed, accuracy, and autonomy. This aligns with ABB's strategic investment focus on innovative AI solutions that transform industries, particularly in logistics and manufacturing.

The acquisition follows ABB's earlier minority investment in Sevensense, dating back to 2021 when the start-up joined ABB's innovation ecosystem. Financial details of the transaction remain undisclosed. ABB, having previously acquired ASTI Mobile Robotics in the same year, continues to strengthen its position in the robotics domain.

The market for mobile robots is experiencing robust growth, projected at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20% through 2026, reaching $9.5 billion. ABB's AI-powered 3D vision technology is poised to play a pivotal role in driving this growth. The integration of Sevensense's technology into ABB's AMR portfolio is expected to offer unparalleled speed, accuracy, and payload capabilities.

Sevensense's navigation technology, a fusion of AI and 3D vision, empowers AMRs to make intelligent decisions in dynamic environments. These robots, equipped with Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visual SLAM) technology, create maps during manual guidance. The technology significantly reduces commissioning time, allowing AMRs to operate independently in complex environments alongside human counterparts.

Already making waves in automotive manufacturing and logistics, this AI-enabled navigation technology is creating efficiency gains for industry giants like Ford and Michelin. For Ford, the technology is set to enhance production site efficiency in the US, while Michelin plans to utilize it for intralogistics at its factory in Spain. The technology's impact extends beyond linear production lines, paving the way for dynamic networks and collaborative operations between robots and humans.

The Sevensense acquisition positions ABB as the leader in next-generation AMRs, offering Visual SLAM in Autonomous Mobile Robots. The integrated portfolio covers robots and machine automation solutions, managed by ABB's value-creating software. Gregory Hitz, CEO of Sevensense, sees this collaboration as a transformative moment, introducing their technology to a broader market range and continuing to scale their platform for 3D visual autonomy.

Conclusion:

The acquisition of Sevensense by ABB marks a transformative leap in the realm of robotics. With an increased focus on AI-enabled solutions, ABB is strategically positioned to address the evolving needs of industries grappling with skilled labor shortages. The integration of Sevensense's technology into ABB's portfolio not only enhances the capabilities of AMRs but also propels the industry toward greater efficiency, flexibility, and accuracy in production and intralogistics. This collaboration exemplifies ABB's commitment to nurturing innovations and fostering the next generation of technological advancements. As ABB solidifies its position as a technology leader, the impact on the robotics landscape is poised to be profound.

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