Tessa Lau, Founder and CEO of Dusty Robotics, an Innovation Awardee said “We’re almost there. $1 million in revenue is our next goal.” Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter automates the painstaking, time-consuming process of marking building plans in the field, replacing a traditional process using measuring tape and chalk lines that hasn’t changed in 5000 years. The company’s vision of creating robot-powered tools for the modern construction workforce resonates strongly with commercial construction companies. Dusty’s robot fleet is now in production, producing highly accurate layouts in record time on every floor of two multi-family residential towers going up in San Francisco.

The SVR ‘Good Robot’ Industry Awards also highlight diverse robotics companies. In our Visionary Category, Zoox is the first billion dollar company led by an African-American woman, Aicha Evans, and Robust AI shows diversity at every level of the organization. Diversity of thought will be critical as Robust AI tackles the challenge of building a cognitive engine for robotics that incorporates common sense reasoning. 

“Robotics and AI will shape the next century in the same way the Industrial revolution shaped the 20th century. To create a future that amplifies human potential, the full spectrum of human perspective needs to contribute to the design process. This is fundamental to how we are building Robust.AI” explains COO Anthony Jules. 

We also wanted to highlight the community in robotics with our Champion Award, because as Silicon Valley Robotics Managing Director Andra Keay says, “In robotics, we’re always standing on the shoulders of giants. And many of these contributions go unrecognized outside of the robotics community. We depend on a strong community to help startups cross the chasm to commercialization, and so we want to recognize our Champions, starting with Willow Garage, which was the Fairchild of the 21st century.” 

Willow Garage had a massive impact on robotics in seven short years, from 2006 to 2013. Not only did they produce ROS, now maintained by Open Robotics, but alumni of Willow Garage can be found in the core teams of almost every groundbreaking new robotics company. Some, like Fetch Robotics, winner of our Overall Excellence Award and pioneer in autonomous mobile robots for logistics, achieved the full cycle from startup to ground breaking industry leader in only five short years. By 2018, Fetch Robotics was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

Overall Excellence Award:

  • Fetch Robotics founded in 2014 with Willow Garage alum Melonee Wise as CEO 
  • Ambidextrous founded in 2018 in Emeryville, CA by Jeffrey Mahler, Ken Goldberg, Stephen McKinley, David Gealy and Matt Matl 

Ambidextrous looks likely to follow the same successful trajectory, spinning out research from the University of California Berkeley, that uses AI and simulation to solve the ‘pick problem’ for handling real world items. At only two years old, Ambidextrous is already piloting solutions for significant customers. Two other UC Berkeley startups made our inaugural award list, Squishy Robotics and Covariant.ai, highlighting the large amount of robotics research happening in the Bay Area, in more than fifty robotics research labs. 

Hopefully, this will lead to more good robots solving global challenges. As one of our Champions, Dr Ayanna Howard says, “I believe that every engineer has a responsibility to make the world a better place. We are gifted with an amazing power to take people’s wishes and make them a reality.”

The full list of the 52 Awardees can be seen at https://svrobo.org/awards from 8am PST Monday December 14th 2020.