Soft Robotics raises US$10m to bring AI-powered food robotics to market

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Soft Robotics, a US-based developer of grasping technology, machine vision, and software solutions for F&B, has raised US$10m (£7.3m) in a Series B extension to further expand commercial operations.

The capital will also go towards the company’s launch of its SoftAI powered robotic solutions. SoftAI layers 3D vision and AI technologies on top of Soft Robotics’ patented, IP69K-rated, soft grasping to give industrial robots the hand-eye coordination of human beings.

According to the company, this unprecedented combination of robotic “hands,” “eyes” and “brains” enables, for the first time ever, the automation of bulk picking processes, e.g. bin picking, in the food supply chain.

“Today’s industrial robots are unable to deal with product variability or unstructured environments typically found across the labour challenged food supply chain in areas such as agriculture, food processing, and logistics,” said Mark Chiappetta, COO at Soft Robotics.

“With our revolutionary soft grasping, 3D perception, and AI technologies, Soft Robotics unlocks robotic automation by augmenting widely available industrial robots with true hand-eye coordination allowing them to perform tasks that traditionally could only be performed by human workers.”

The round was co-led by Material Impact, Scale Venture Partners, and Calibrate Ventures and brings Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods into the syndicate.  ABB Technology Ventures and Tekfen Ventures also participated to complete the round.

“Soft Robotics’ best-in-class robotic technology, computer vision and AI platform have the potential to transform the food industry and will play a key role in any company’s automation journey,” said Rahul Ray, senior director of Tyson Ventures.

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