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Conference Report: Robotics Summit, Boston MA (USA)

Robotics Summit (https://www.roboticssummit.com/, Massachusetts, US) is a three year old show. The 2022 event is the first since 2019 (due to the pandemic).

Our visit to the Robotics Summit in Boston, MA was prompted by other people talking about the show and the fact that it is based in the middle of the largest robotics cluster in North America.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM BOSTON ROBOTICS SUMMIT 2022

  1. Presentation on Sensor fusion was very helpful to a) learn more about the various different perception sensors in the market right now b) the potential difficulties with sensor fusion and c) current state of sensors for robots - Many thanks to Tangram Vision for the enlightening talk and for making it nearly understandable for a non-engineer
  2. Whilst Boston is known as the leading robotics cluster in the US, MBTA buses (local buses) still shift between diesel and electric propulsion manually. To change from diesel (used outside) to electric power (used indoors/when driving in the tunnels under Boston) a driver has to exit the vehicle and locate two "sprouts" to fit on to the powered cables overhead. Vice versa when shifting from electric to diesel. Likewise, we could not identify any autonomous vehicles on the roads in Boston, which may have been a result of us looking at other things (first visit to Boston)
  3. We learned a bit more about how mobile robotics companies think when approaching the object avoidance problem and that synthetic data may only get you so far in dynamic environments... because humans are often erratic agents and it is difficult to forecast their actions. Thanks Fetch Robotics
  4. There were some awesome chance networking opportunities at this event with senior managers from a lot of important and up and coming players
  5. Boston is overall a very nice city and no doubt we will return not only to the Robotics Summit but also to visit some of the companies in the area

ROBOTICS SUMMIT CHOREOGRAPHY

The Robotics Summit was separated into two parts: 1) exhibition and 2) conference with several parallel tracks split into Robotics and Healthcare Robotics

THE EXHIBITION was mainly made up from robot component suppliers with the exception for a few robotics companies including Alert Innovation (local to Boston) 

Robotics Summit, Boston Massachusetts USA

In terms of size, the exhibition area was quite limited and a visitor could easily do this in a day.

Robotics Summit Exhibition Area

Well visited: There were plenty of visitors at the show though.

Robotics Summit UK Representation

UK exhibitor of an electric car chassis - Cyclopic Check out how the mechanics of this works on our YouTube Channel (filmed at a UK trade show). 

Exhibitor products included motors, odometers, contract manufacturers, other components, controllers, etc. 

Robotics Summit Staubli Robotics

Manufacturers included Staubli and Alert Innovation and a few others.

Robotics Summit Alert Innovation

One of the reasons some robotics companies exhibited here was apparently as a recruitment drive.

THE CONFERENCE

The conference had a number of high profile speakers that were interesting to hear from. However, in our experience most conference talks are more or less sales pitches or "infomercials". 

On a positive note was Brad Bogolea of Simbe Robotics who talked about how they scaled their business and responded to plenty of questions regarding business models, engineering questions, etc. This was very useful for anyone starting their own robotics business, what the potential pitfalls may be, etc. 

In fact Simbe's talk was so interesting that we didn't remember to take any pictures.

 Robotics Summit - Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics presentation was a proper sales pitch, but the audience was mainly made up from roboticists and component vendors whilst the pitch was aimed at 3PLs and retailers. 

If you are interested in how many robots Locus have deployed. The presenter stated Locus's robots have performed 850m picks in total since Locus started. Contact us to get an estimate on Locus's total deployed robotics numbers...   

Robotics Summit - Velodyne
Jon Barad, Velodyne
Robotics Summit - Intel RealSense
Intel insinuated they may have miscommunicated the announcement that they would discontinue RealSense. Note that the original brief was pretty cryptic and lacked specific information. STIQ reached out to Intel in the days following the announcement for a clarification, but was simply told that the announcement was the way it was. We've offered Intel to come clear in our reports... let's hope they do. Until then, perhaps best to have a secondary supplier ready just in case...
We also saw presentations from Zebra Fetch Robotics and Tangram Vision and waited in room 206b for Nvidia to make their presentation only to realise half way in the presentation that it was held in room 208...
All in all, the Robotics Summit is worth visiting. It will take you less than a day to walk through the exhibition area. Some of the presentations were beneficial and gave us some food for thought, including Teradyne's headline talk by Greg Smith, President Automation. If you read this, Greg - great talk. Like your relaxed presentation style! Note: be ready for a long queue if you want to talk to Greg after his presentation - there were about 20 people waiting to talk to him. We got in at no.7... networking in the queue was great.
Importantly for this event - it attracted a whole host of senior managers that we were surprised to see here. Super event for networking for sure!
Boston Robotics Summit, Greg Smith Teradyne
Greg Smith, President Robotics, Teradyne
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WTWH Media are the organisers behind the Robotics Summit - https://www.roboticssummit.com/ (co-hosted with Healthcare Robotics)

 

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