Saturday, May 28, 2022

Alphabet’s Intrinsic aims to make industrial robots smarter, easier to use

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has announced the launch of a new robotics company called Intrinsic, aimed at making industrial robots smarter and easier to use. Intrinsic is working to unlock the creative and economic potential of industrial robotics for millions of more businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers.

As noted in the blog post, Intrinsic will develop software tools designed to make an industrial robot – which are used to make everything from solar panels to cars – easier to use, less costly, and more flexible, so that more people can use them to make new products, businesses, and services. The company will be led by Wendy Tan-White, Vice President at X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory.

Over the last few years, the Intrinsic team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications. Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet and with partners in real-world manufacturing settings, the team has been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.

In one of the instances, the technique helped the team train a robot in two hours to complete a USB connection task. For comparison, it may have taken skilled programmers hundreds of hours to generate the code necessary to teach the bot to perform this task. In another example, the team orchestrated multiple robot arms to assemble an architectural installation and a simple piece of furniture.

None of this is realistic or affordable to automate today – and there are millions of other examples like this in businesses around the world,” said Tan-White. “This all hints at the potential for Intrinsic’s software to radically reduce the time, cost, and complexity required to use industrial robots – and therefore their long-term potential to help with a much wider range of problems and drive up the diversity of goods that can be produced affordably and sustainably.”

With the new company now launched, becoming an independent Alphabet company, it is currently seeking industrial partners primarily “in the automotive, electronics and healthcare industries who are already using industrial robotics and want to learn together,” Intrinsic said in a statement.

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