Israeli robotics startup Intuition Robotics has raised $36 million in a series B round of funding co-led by Sparx Team and OurCrowd, with participation from Samsung Future, Toyota AI Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, iRobot, Sompo Holdings, Union Tech Ventures, Contentment Funds, and Capital Point.
Established in 2015, Intuition Robotics is producing what it phone calls “social companion” robots and linked systems, with an preliminary concentration on lessening loneliness and isolation in aged people today. The company’s very first products was a $1,500 robotic known as ElliQ that opened for preorders past January and has gathered “over 10,000 days” in homes throughout the U.S., although the firm has not revealed precise revenue figures. The vast majority of ElliQ’s customers are concerning 80 and 90 several years of age.
ElliQ much more carefully resembles a desk lamp than a humanoid, and it sits on a small dock with a pill monitor and cameras. It can converse using purely natural language dialogue and can also use other solutions to express a concept or emotion — including shifting its place and making use of audio and light to convey itself. It also promises to increase around time as it adapts to its operator.
Contrary to Alexa or Google Assistant, ElliQ is designed to proactively engage with consumers, rather than passively ready for a prompt. It will detect if its proprietor is currently accomplishing some thing — like getting a dialogue or viewing Television — and depart them be. But if it suspects the man or woman is sitting idle, it may perhaps check with them a concern or counsel that they get up and go for a walk. It could also perform audio it is aware the consumer likes, or explain to them a joke.
Electronic assistants to electronic companions
Ultimately, Intuition Robotics sees its system as facilitating the evolution from electronic assistants to electronic companions that absolutely understand context and can make selections primarily based on preset targets. ElliQ is just a demonstration of the fundamental technological know-how — past 12 months, Instinct Robotics launched a cognitive AI system termed Q that delivers the technologies to third-party units.
The enterprise has built its cognitive AI technology overall in-dwelling and statements that it is secured by “dozens of patent apps.” But its clients — and the in-dwelling crew doing work on ElliQ — do lean on some off-the-shelf merchandise for sensor and perception needs, this sort of as computerized speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech.
The company’s 1st Q platform client was an existing investor, the Toyota Study Institute (TRI), which is producing an in-car or truck digital companion. The notion below is that motorists and travellers will be able to have interaction with an AI-powered agent that is proactive and context-aware. No timescale has been provided for when this collaboration may possibly produce fruit.
“We are producing rapid development, and we hope Toyota will release info quickly,” Instinct Robotics cofounder and CEO Dor Skuler told VentureBeat.
The corporation experienced earlier raised $22 million, which includes its $14 million sequence A round from 2017 and a stick to-on $6 million tranche from Samsung Upcoming a yr later on. With another $36 million in the lender, Instinct Robotics claimed it’s now hunting to broaden its Q system into other industries and use scenarios, nevertheless it explained it’s as well early to offer distinct illustrations of added partnerships.
“Think of use situations wherever a marriage would make perception and insert value to a person,” Skuler included. “This can be interaction with wise devices or robots, schooling, hospitality, house appliances, and substantially far more. This financial investment will gasoline the evolution of brokers from utilitarian digital assistants to total-fledged electronic companions that are at our side, anticipating our needs and seamlessly, proactively strengthening our life by supporting us accomplish specific results.”
Intuition Robotics claims around 85 workers — together with machine discovering and computer system eyesight specialists — distribute across its native Israel, in addition to hubs in San Francisco and Greece.