Robot vendor ABB adds AI-based navigation technology with latest acquisition

Robot vendor ABB adds AI-based navigation technology with latest acquisition

Automation firm buys Swiss startup Sevensense, will integrate new technology into its AMR portfolio.

The Swiss industrial robotics vendor ABB Ltd. is continuing to grow its footprint as a provider of mobile robotic solutions, announcing today that it has acquired Sevensense, a Swiss start-up that provides AI-based navigation technology.

Founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the Swiss technical university ETH Zurich, Sevensense says its platform can transform any mobile machine, from AMRs to forklifts and cleaning machines, into mobile robots with unprecedented autonomy capabilities.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. But the acquisition follows ABB’s minority investment in Sevensense after it joined the company’s innovation ecosystem in 2021, the same year ABB acquired ASTI Mobile Robotics, a Spanish provider of autonomous towing vehicles, goods-to-person solutions, unit carriers, and box movers.

Following pilot customer projects in the automotive and logistics industries, ABB says it will integrate Sevensense’s technology into the company’s AMR portfolio, offering a new combination of speed, accuracy, and payload. Sevensense’s approximately 35 employees will continue to be based at its Swiss office in Zurich.

To date, ABB has focused on rolling out its mobile technology in the automotive manufacturing and logistics sectors, with installations at Ford production sites in the U.S., a Michelin factory in Spain, and other automotive manufacturers planning to launch ABB technology in the U.K., Finland, and Germany.

“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,” Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation, said in a release. “Each mobile robot, equipped with vision and AI, scans a unique part of the building; collectively these robots complement each other’s view to form a complete map, enabling them to work autonomously in a rapidly changing environment.”

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