ANYbotics, a maker of ANYmal four-legged robots, has announced a $20 million Swiss Franc ( approx. $22.3 million) Series A financing round to accelerate the commercialization of its autonomous robots for industrial inspection applications.
The general public begins to be familiar with these four-legged machines via videos, on YouTube, of the inventions of Boston Dynamics. The Massachusetts-based company, founded in 1992, has developed several spectacularly performing robots, including the agile robot dog called Spot. Much Younger – ANYbotics, the Swiss company found in 2016, has also developed a quadruped robot ANYmal that looks similar to Spot and targets the same market: the inspection of industrial sites. The autonomous mobile robots capable of navigating complex environments, thus enhancing safety and productivity in industrial operations.
Equipped with thermal cameras and 3D scanners, the machine is able to efficiently replace a human having to patrol large construction sites regularly. ANYmal uses powerful servos in its legs for movement, which allows it to carry up to ten kilograms. The robot weighs only about 50 kilograms and can move at a speed equivalent to that of a fast-walking person, and work from two to four hours on a single battery charge.
For navigation, the robot uses lidar and several cameras, including infrared and PTZ. ANYmal can move easily on rough terrain, and it can detect objects obstructing passages or overheating electrical systems.
Recently, ETH Zurich engineers have added passive or powered wheels to their existing ANYmal quadruped robot that will allow it to move faster and efficiently on flat and inclined terrain. The company has also demonstrated one of the main advantages of its ANYmal four-legged robot – IP67 water protection. During the tests, the robot entered the water at different depths, up to the point at which only the camera block, the front part of the body, and part of the lidar remained above the water. He moved along the pitfalls and went ashore without difficulty.
Industrial companies face the challenge of optimizing productivity while increasing environmental and personnel safety. Providing the necessary routine inspection data, ANYbotics’ fully autonomous mobile solution found immediate appeal in several industries. “We are working with leading energy, industrial processing, and construction companies to bring digitalization into environments that are too complex for traditional robots,” says Dr. Péter Fankhauser, co-founder, and CEO of ANYbotics.