SLAMcore, a UK company developing spatial AI algorithms for robots and drones, has secured US$5m (£4m) in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures and MMC Ventures, with participation from Amadeus Capital Partners and Toyota AI Ventures.
According to SLAMcore, the funding will allow it to meet increasing demand for robotics solutions, including drone and AR/VR technology, due to Covid-19.
SLAMcore has reportedly seen a spike in demand from companies looking to apply robotics with enquiries for early access to its Spatial AI SDK up 50%.
The pandemic has increased interest in robots, drones, and artificial intelligence, as these technologies can help deal with staff shortages and social distancing rules in healthcare, manufacturing and supply chains, said SLAMcore.
However, large-scale roll-out of robots is still limited despite demand as companies struggle to overcome a lack of spatial understanding.
According to SLAMcore, to reach their full potential, robots and drones require spatial intelligence, including the ability to accurately calculate their position, understand unfamiliar surroundings, and navigate with consistent reliability.
Owen Nicholson, CEO at SLAMcore, said: “Even before the crisis, SLAMcore was engaged in many conversations with companies – big and small – who needed a better way to solve spatial intelligence issues in robotics.
“Especially across sectors such as drones, robots, and AR/VR, the coronavirus pandemic has lit the touch-paper and we are primed to meet exploding demand.
“In the past few weeks alone, we have seen a huge spike in enquiries as robotics companies want fast solutions to get their robots to market sooner.”
Zoe Chambers, Principal at Octopus Ventures, added: “In a post pandemic world, where contactless and hygienic interactions are vital, demand for robotic solutions will only increase.
“Whether they’re moving around warehouses, delivering food, disinfecting hospitals or operating as security guards, robots will be interacting with multiple dynamic environments and even with humans.
“This means that their ability to move autonomously is absolutely fundamental.
“SLAMcore’s solution lies at the heart of this by giving robots spatial intelligence and we are excited to continue to back the business as the market accelerates.”
The funding will also be used to speed-up the availability of SLAMcore’s solutions, including its recently announced SDK toolkit, which enables developers to build, test and deploy solutions using SLAMcore algorithms and off-the-shelf sensors.