Autonomous snowploughs tested at Oslo airport

Norwegian airport operator Avinor is now taking the next step towards autonomous snow removal through a new framework agreement regarding the purchase of self-driving runway sweepers. The self-driving technology is developed by the technology company Yeti Move AS, where Semcon is one of the co-owners.

Since the winter of 2018/2019, a number of self-driving runway sweepers are being tested at Oslo Airport. With Avinor’s new framework agreement with snowplough manufacturer Øveraasen, which runs for eight years, more autonomous vehicles will be put into operation during the winter of 2021/2022. Behind the self-driving vehicles is the technology company Yeti Move AS, which delivers the control system that runs the autonomous operations. The majority owners of Yeti Move AS are Øveraasen, Husqvarna and Semcon.

Today, efficiency and automation are high on the agenda of airlines and airport operators worldwide and the benefits of autonomous snowploughs at airports are many. In addition to cost efficiency, the new technology entails a higher capacity and greater clearing width, which makes it possible to reduce the number of vehicles and thereby achieve major environmental benefits. The system is also developed with so-called „condition monitoring“ which provides a complete overview of the equipment’s condition and possible service needs.

”The contract with Avinor is an important step in the development of Yeti Move and gives the company a world-leading position in autonomous snow removal at airports. This is a result of years of collaboration with Øveraasen as a machine supplier and Semcon as a competence partner”, says Peter Due, CEO of Yeti Move.

”Semcon has extensive experience in developing autonomous solutions, from first idea to finished solution. We have been part of Yeti Moves‘ journey from the start and are proud to have, as a development and competence partner, contributed to developing the software platform that makes autonomous operation possible”, says Hans Peter Havdal, responsible for Semcon in Norway.

Umbratek UTRA series on Kickstarter

SHENZHEN, March 29th, 2021 – Umbratek, a cutting-edge new robotic tech startup, has just released its first robotic arm series called the UTRA series on Kickstarter.
With 5 different robot arm models to choose from, the UTRA series is the world’s most powerful and most affordable modular robot on the market today.

Ranging from a 4 to 6 axis build, the arms can be easily configured with modular design for improved efficiency. Each robot is built with modular structures and can be constructed to meet your business needs. Being 90% produced in-house, the UTRA series is approximately 70% more affordable than leading worldwide competitors.

Specifications:
Payload: Up to 20kg
Repeatability: Up to ±0.01mm
Weight to Payload Ratio: Up to 0.75
Reach: Up to 1500mm
Quick-Release Module: 2s tool change speed

Driving the revolutionary UTRA series is Umbratek’s ADRA Actuator series. Each ADRA Actuator is built to last and comes with a high-precision harmonic reducer made of high-strength aviation aluminum and high-carbon chromium steel.

A high-torque density, and compact structure, enable the motor to be integrated into the actuator and lessens the actuator weight. Each actuator is fitted with high-performance servo drivers, which use field-oriented control, to protect against overvoltage, overcurrent, over-temperature, reverse connection, undervoltage ESD, short-circuiting, and rotor lock. The ADRA series also uses dual GMR+TMR hybrid detection technology and comes with a 16-bit off-axis multi-turn absolute encoder.

Evan Deng, founder, and CEO of Umbratek, stated, „Umbratek focuses on high-performance dynamic robots and control systems. We’ve spent the last few years developing simplified, customized, affordable robotic solutions for any potential needs. Our robots provide fresh energy to industrial automation, logistics, medical, agricultural, and many more settings.“

Umbratek was built with growth in mind. With meticulous design and implementation, Umbratek is always thinking forward. They want to become a world-leading enterprise in the field of dynamic robotics and control systems and continue to explore the limits of the world, working on cutting-edge technologies, and delivering knowledge and technology to those that need it.

Umbratek was founded in 2019 by the founder and CEO of UFactory. After being responsible for the revolutionization of desktop robotics, Umbratek was formed with the idea of developing quality assured robotics and robotic control systems at industry-breaking prices.
The first range of solutions that Umbratek is offering is the UTRA Robot series, the ADRA Actuator series, and their corresponding software – Umbratek Studio & Assistant.
To help Umbratek bring its UTRA series to the market, they are launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in March 2021.

Boston Dynamics Unveils New Robot for Warehouse Automation

Stretch is designed to make warehouse operations safer and more efficient

Waltham, MA – March 29, 2021 – Boston Dynamics, the global leader in mobile robotics, has revealed Stretch, its new box-moving robot designed to support the growing demand for flexible automation solutions in the logistics industry. This debut marks the company’s official entrance into warehouse automation, a fast-growing market fueled by increased demand in e-commerce.



Stretch is Boston Dynamics’ first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers, of which there are more than 150,000 globally, according to analysts. The multi-purpose mobile robot is designed to tackle a number of tasks where rapid box moving is required, first starting with truck unloading and later expanding into order building. Stretch’s technology builds upon Boston Dynamics’ decades of advancements in robotics to create a flexible, easily-integrated solution that can work in any warehouse to increase their flow of goods, improve employee safety in physically difficult tasks and lower expensive fixed automation costs.



The robot’s small, omni-directional mobile base allows Stretch to navigate loading docks, maneuver in tight spaces and adapt to changing facility layouts, eliminating the need for costly fixed automation infrastructure. It is equipped with a custom-designed lightweight arm and a smart-gripper with advanced sensing and controls that can handle a large variety of boxed and shrink wrapped cases. Stretch also includes Boston Dynamics’ computer vision technology that enables it to identify boxes easily and without extensive training for each customer. Its vision system works in tandem with pick & place activity, enabling high pick rates.



Traditional warehouse automation approaches require either installation of fixed infrastructure or mobile robots that convey goods but struggle to meet productivity requirements to be an attractive investment for warehouse operators. Stretch offers logistics providers an easier path to automation by working within existing warehouse spaces and operations, without requiring costly reconfiguration or investments in new fixed infrastructure.



“Warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “Mobile robots enable the flexible movement of materials and improve working conditions for employees. Stretch combines Boston Dynamics’ advancements in mobility, perception and manipulation to tackle the most challenging, injury-prone case-handling tasks, and we’re excited to see it put to work.”



Boston Dynamics is currently seeking customers to pilot test deployment of Stretch with truck unloading tasks ahead of its commercial deployment in 2022. Interested parties can apply to join the Stretch Early Adopter Program by visiting: https://www.bostondynamics.com/stretch



About Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics is the global leader in developing and deploying highly mobile robots capable of tackling the toughest robotics challenges. Our core mission is to lead the creation and delivery of robots with advanced mobility, dexterity, and intelligence that add value in unstructured or hard-to-traverse spaces and positively impact society. We create high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation and intelligence by combining the principles of dynamic control with sophisticated mechanical designs, cutting-edge electronics, and next-generation software. We have three mobile robots in our portfolio – Spot®, Stretch™ and Atlas® – as well as Pick™, a machine learning vision solution for warehouse automation. Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics spun out of the MIT Leg Lab and is one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces of 2020. For more information on our company and its technologies, please visit www.bostondynamics.com.

LaserPecker Launches 2nd Generation Laser Engraver

Laser Engraving experts LaserPecker just announced the launch of a new version of their affordable and user-friendly laser engraver. LaserPecker 2 is a compact, powerful device that engraves words, images, patterns or designs on virtually any type of materials and has a boosted engraving speed of 600mm/s, which is ten times faster than the previous generation. LaserPecker 2 is available now: [LINK

Building on the success of its previous design, LaserPecker 2 adds powerful features along with an easy to use interface to make laser engraving affordable and simple for beginners, hobbyists, and professionals alike. The sleek, compact, plug-and-play device sets up in seconds and works with a smartphone to transfer images and begin engraving with just a few clicks. LaserPecker 2 is incredibly versatile, cutting many materials up to 5mm thick and engraving on almost anything including metal, dark glass, colored ceramics, wood, bamboo, leather, paper, fruit, food, plastic, acrylic, stone, cement, bone and more. Best of all, the device has been designed with ease of use in mind, allowing anyone to get started fast. 

 “Laser engraving is a powerful new technology that has endless applications for art, design, industry and business. But in the past, the technique was difficult to master and cost prohibitive. Our first series of engravers were celebrated for their compact size and ease of use, making them perfect for home and business. Now, we have added more powerful features, improved the user interface, and increased engraving speed. Our compact new design can be used on virtually any materials giving users the ultimate in versatility and speed. LaserPecker 2 makes it easy for anyone to get started laser engraving in minutes.” PeckerLaser 2 CEO

The powerful LaserPecker 2 system improves system performance with a maximum engraving size of 100*2000mm and incredibly fast engraving speed of 600mm/s. The improved engraving speed is ten times faster than the company’s first product and lets users get more done quickly. It’s also easy to use: focus distance is easily adjustable at the touch of a button, images can be previewed before engraving and 3 types of resolution options (1k 2k 3k) are available for different materials and applications. It also has parameters that adjust the color of the engraving effect. Together, these professional-grade features make LaserPecker 2 the best choice for multi-material laser engraving. 

LaserPecker 2 is compact, handheld and portable making it easy to use anywhere – even on 360 degree multi-angle engraving that is required on cylindrical objects. The engraver is extremely safe with multiple safety protections built-in. It monitors the engraving process and pauses work when temperatures get too high or the device vibrates or tilts over. It also includes a filter and protective cover for harmful blue light and the engraver can be turned off at any time using an emergency stop button. For ease of use, the length of the built-in protective cover is the optimal distance for laser carving so that users don’t have to measure distance manually. 

With a full feature set, improved speed and upgraded safety protections, LaserPecker 2 is the ultimate portable laser engraving solution and is available now with special deals and discounts for early adopters. Learn more here: https://igg.me/at/6FC78jR6J-g/x/4781251#/

IAM Robotics Introduces Groundbreaking Mid-size AMR

Pittsburgh, PA, March 31 – IAM Robotics is breaking boundaries in the midline autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market with its new robot, Bolt™. Making its debut April 12, 2021 at ProMat DX, Bolt gives you the power to do more in material handling—faster, longer, and farther. 

Packed with high-tech features, Bolt is built to thrive in warehouse and manufacturing environments. It elevates productivity and efficiency to new heights and stands out as an autonomous mobility solution for more than just a few reasons: 

Adaptability – Bolt allows you to retrofit various tops to serve your needs, from piece-picking arms to pallet movers. Choose from standard solutions or customize a unique top. No other AMR has this flexibility. 

Smarter Safety – Bolt uses 360-degree vision and a combination of state-of-the-art sensors and direct-drive wheel motors to ensure complete safety. Direct-drive wheel technology means Bolt’s entire body acts as a bump sensor. And for this to work, Bolt offers the same type of power-force-torque limiting as collaborative robot arms. 

Unmatched Power and Efficiency – Bolt is powerful, with a battery 3.5X the size of similar AMRs and 20-hour runtime that exceeds any other AMR. The patented hot swap battery makes it easy for one person to change in ten seconds or less. Plus, with a best-in-class 661-pound payload capacity, customers never compromise. 

Bolt is completely autonomous, is compatible with conveyor and material handling systems, and scales easily for any size application. 

Founder and CEO, Tom Galuzzo, reflected on developing the robot. “When we built our AMR, we thought, ‘How can we make this the most powerful, flexible, and collaborative solution?’ Bolt expands on our AMMR, Swift™, by turning its base into a standalone AMR. We applied what we learned with Swift, honing in on battery power and direct-drive wheels to ensure Bolt has the power to operate safely and efficiently—even with top modules attached.” He continued, “Bolt is already opening new doors for IAM Robotics because it introduces us to a faster-growing market with general AMRs.” 

IAM Robotics knows AMRs are in high demand because of their benefits to businesses over existing automation and human labor. AMRs have a low barrier to entry because they’re relatively affordable, and they deploy in as quickly as a matter of weeks—so businesses can hit the ground running. But they’re also flexible. AMRs provide the power of autonomous mobility, so you’re not limited by stationary conveyors, and they’re designed to collaborate with and complement human workers and existing automation. Bolt is certainly no different, doing all this and more. 

For more information about Bolt, explore the product online or get in touch with IAM Robotics to discuss specific applications. 

### 

About IAM Robotics 

IAM Robotics is the future of material handling. Our mobile robotics platform powers operational excellence in an on-demand world. 

We are dedicated to building adaptable and safe robotics solutions that seamlessly integrate into any operational environment. Our team of robotics engineers and supply chain veterans work closely with partners to model, simulate, and configure optimal solutions that keep their businesses competitive. 

IAM Robotics was founded in 2012 and is proudly based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company is home to over 50 employees and supports customers worldwide. 

To learn more, please visit iamrobotics.com

Cozmo and Vector Robots Finds Global Retail Distribution with Protempo

Digital Dream Labs Finalizes Plans for International Relaunch of Popular Consumer Robot Brands Cozmo and Vector

March 5, 2021 (Robotics Tomorrow) —Pittsburgh, PA: Cozmo and Vector are so much more than just toys — they’re AI-powered companion robots. Digital Dream Labs‘ (DDL) little guys with the expressive, responsive eyes represent some of the most advanced robotics capabilities in the world. And Vector is completely open-source, so anyone can program it to do anything they want (Cozmo can be programmed with the Code Lab app).

Now, Digital Dream Labs have finalized an agreement with Protempo, which will provide global distribution for the popular consumer robots when they relaunch later this year. Originally developed by the Silicon Valley robotics company Anki, they’ve already sold hundreds of thousands of units around the world.
„There is a tremendous demand for these robots,“ said Jacob Hanchar, Digital Dream Labs CEO. „This partnership will complement the work our teams are already doing to relaunch these products and will ensure that Cozmo and Vector are on shelves for the holidays.“
Protempo will leverage its vast reach as a worldwide distributor of electronics to get Cozmo and Vector on store shelves and e-commerce marketplaces everywhere.
„Relaunching Cozmo and Vector after a few years off is an exciting initiative,“ said Paige Carlson, Sr. Director of Sales at Protempo. „The partnership between Digital Dream Labs and Protempo will bring these hugely successful brands back to retailers in time for holiday 2021. We will satisfy pent-up demand as well as engage millions of new fans to the massive appeal of Cozmo and Vector robots.“
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ABOUT DIGITAL DREAM LABS
Digital Dream Labs is an edutainment company that develops engaging learning solutions for people of all ages. Through their innovative suite of interactive and hands-on video games and consumer robots, Digital Dream Labs is transforming the way science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) topics are taught in homes and classrooms around the world. More information about Digital Dream Labs and their portfolio of educational technology games and consumer robots can be found at www.digitaldreamlabs.com.

ABOUT PROTEMPO
Protempo is an innovative full-service global distributor of consumer electronics. Trusted by some of the world’s most powerful brands since 2004, they provide expert analysis of retail dynamics for both brick-and-mortar and online sales channels and have an extensive background servicing the wider electronics market across the full gamut of market segments. More information on Protempo can be found at www.protempo.com.

Cody Block, a new Montessori inspired coding toy

Cody Block is centered on a little wooden car called Cody that has to find its way home through 16 Building Blocks which act as commands. The task for children is to lay out a path that leads Cody back to his house by positioning the Building Blocks in the correct order.


Children put Cody at the starting point and watch as the electronic car moves through the Building Blocks. Each of the Blocks gives a unique directional command to the car through
RFID tags.

Cody will follow the sequence of instructions provided by the Blocks and – if the blocks are arranged correctly – make it to his goal. If not, children have to figure out how to rearrange the blocks in order to fix the sequence and help Cody get home.

The patented RFID technology embedded in every wooden block allows children to play with
Cody for hours without the need of any smartphone, laptop or screen. The design of Cody Block takes its inspiration from classic wooden toys and the Montessori philosophy in its material and shape: solid beech wood and intuitive design.
Cody Block provides gender-neutral play that stimulates a child’s critical thinking, creativity, problem solving abilities and resilience.

QUBS and Cody Block was started by Hayri Bulman, a Swiss IT entrepreneur and father of 2 children. In 2016, Hayri started exploring how to bring technology and classic wooden toys together to help his children learn the basics of coding through play. After prototyping a number of concepts at home which incorporated RFID technology inside of wooden blocks he brought together a team of designers, engineers and illustrators to launch Cody Block.

Hayri wanted to bring Cody Block to the market because he is convinced that by enabling kids to gather new skills through play, we encourage the next generation of innovators, tinkerers, creators and makers of the future.
“My aim is to create a toy that blends classic wooden toys with electronics and helps kids navigate this increasingly digital world. There are thousands of wooden toys and there are thousands of electric toys but with Cody we can bridge these two very far worlds together, and close the gap between them,” said Hayri Bulman, founder of QUBS.

“I want to bring children closer to coding, a very essential skill for the future. I hope Cody Block will help them understand how to think and problem solve, all of this while having fun. I believe children will play with Cody Block in many different ways, more than we can ever imagine.”

Cody Block is being launched at a time when coding and STEM subjects are getting more attention both from the education system and from parents.

“The ability to solve problems is a skill that is useful in life in general, we all want our children to become excellent problem solvers, so that they can overcome any adversity they face. Learning code gives children the possibility to learn this type of skills while they’re young, and this will give them advantage in life. Cody Block is the perfect way for them to play and learn at the same time,” said Bruce Lamont, a primary school teacher and Lead Teacher with 32 years of experience in the field.


“Cody Block helps children develop a way of thinking and how to find creative and logical solutions to problems, skills that are really looked for in education nowadays.”

The basic pack includes Cody (the car), 16 Building Blocks, and a City Guide with exercises.
Additional educational discounts will be available for classroom packs of 5 and 10 sets.

About QUBS
QUBS AG is a Swiss company based in Zurich and founded by Hayri Bulman, a father of 2 children and with a passion for wooden toys and new technologies. QUBS is the only toy maker that merges classic designs and screen-free technology in early years learning.
QUBS’ mission is to empower children to explore the learning world in a fun and accessible way. The company makes wooden toys that are loved by children and trusted by parents & educators. By enabling kids to gather new skills through play, QUBS aims to encourage the next generation of innovators, tinkerers, creators and makers of the future.

www.qubs.toys

e-spool flex for continuous panel feed in industrial robots

New slip ring-free igus cable unwinder allows easy cable management

February 9, 2021 – igus has developed the e-spool® flex 2.0, a new cable reel that has no slip ring that is perfect for industrial robot users. This allows for easy management of robot teach pendants and the system even supplies bus signals without interruptions, which can be typical with slip rings.

The solution can extend cables up to 50 feet and is flexible, movable, and easily stowed. Installation into a robot’s control center is simple with the included mounting hardware.

The new e-spool flex captured the attention of ARAGON in Germany, as it offers a complete solution including a standard harnessed cable with connectors and mounting hardware for the company’s industrial robots.

Cable drum without a slip ring

The e-spool® flex 2.0 is igus’ version of a cable drum without a slip ring. The cable is safely routed through a feed-through to ensure that it is always properly wound. Cable diameters of 5-15 millimeters can be used.

The unit can be installed on the floor, ceiling, or wall and safely guides media power, data, or air in one system. The space-saving design includes a locking mechanism on the cable, and is adaptable to technological developments by simply replacing the used cable. The design is also cost-effective in case of repair as it allows for the replacement of individual components.

Other features on the product include a snail mechanism that allows for uninterrupted cable connection and easy insertion of existing cable even when connectors are already attached. The system also has high-transmission reliability and various winding variants.

The e-spool® flex 2.0 can be used whenever a cable must be moved freely during use and must be stowed away safely and cleanly after use.

Successful robot rehabilitation

ARAGON Industrieelektronik GmbH’s successfully proved the effectiveness of the e-spool® flex 2.0. The business’ primary objective is to breathe new life into old robots. The leading industrial robotics provider offers global solutions for repairing, maintaining, retrofitting, and tuning industrial robots. The company was looking for a practical cable solution specifically for use in control panels.

“We are always trying to ensure our customers’ safety with innovative solutions. Until now, the cable was always on the floor, which made it easy to damage or trip over. We went looking for a cable reel that had no interruptions and was quick and easy to retrofit,” said Iryna Geike, Global Country Manager at ARAGON.

The company found what it was looking for in igus. “The new e-spool® flex cable reel system was introduced to us and won us over immediately,” Geike said.

A critical advantage for the company was the ability of the e-spool® flex 2.0 to allow existing panel cables to be inserted into the system’s spiral guide and automatically rolled up. “Our customers now receive a pre-assembled set consisting of the e-spool flex, ARAGON panel mount, cable, and a robot control cabinet mounting bracket for their control panels. The e-spool flex greatly extends the service life of the cable used and ensures more safety and order in the control panel,” Geike said.

Rolling and unrolling cables: manually or automatically

igus offers the e-spool® flex in several variants. One is a low-cost version with a manual turner or a cordless screwdriver to wind up the cable. Another is an automatic solution with a spring-driven return mechanism, a locking mechanism, and an optional retraction brake.

ARAGON decided on the variant with the retaining spring. The cable roller is available in three sizes for cables with diameters of 5 to 15 millimeters and extension lengths of 5 to 15 meters.

Cables can be replaced quickly at any time. In addition to subsequent integration of the e-spool® flex into an existing cable system, igus offers the cable reel solution fully harnessed with chainflex cables specifically designed for moving applications. Cable durability in the e-spool® flex is currently being extensively tested in the in-house 3,800 square meter igus test laboratory. For more information on the e-spool flex 2.0 visit the igus website.

Artificial Intelligence Platform Ludo Revolutionizes Games Creation

Ludo AI, available now in open beta, gives developers access to the world’s first AI platform for games concept creation – accelerating and democratizing games creation



Seattle, USA. AI (Artificial Intelligence) games creativity platform Ludo has announced its open beta, following a deeply successful closed beta and attracted participation from independent studios across the globe. Games creators tasked with delivering the next hit game to emulate the success of the likes of Call of Duty, Among Us, Fortnite and Fall Guys, now have the answer in Ludo – the world’s first AI games ideation tool.

Ludo, Latin for ‘I Play’, uses machine learning and natural language processing to develop game concepts 24 hours a day. The platform is constantly learning and evolving. Ludo is built on a database of close to a million games and is agile and supremely intelligent. When asked to find a new game idea, based on intuitive keyword searches, Ludo returns almost immediately with multiple written game concepts, artwork and images that developers can rapidly work on to take the next stage (concept presentation, MVP or accelerated soft launch).

AI has never before been used at the start of the games creation process: In a 159.3 billion* dollar industry, the pressure to release new hit games is relentless: And coming up with new exciting and sticky games is the Holy Grail. Ludo is set to revolutionize game creation enabling developers by arming them with unique games concepts within minutes of their request being processed. Furthermore, as Ludo’s powerful capabilities are within the reach of any size of studio, the creation process has been democratized.

Games publishers and developers must deliver hit new games at a pace: The industry landscape is changing as it grows in value: Large, acquisitive publishers are constantly on the lookout for growing independents, with great new games and creative ideas, to absorb as they, in turn, need to deliver value to their stakeholders.

“Creativity is the new currency in the games industry,” said Tom Pigott, CEO of JetPlay, Ludo’s creator. “The next hit game could be worth millions and you never know where it will spring up from. With Ludo anyone can come up with a great new game idea without having to waste hours on the process and then invest even more time in researching what is already out there and how successful any similar games have been. Ludo does it all for you: Ludo brings the playfulness back into the game creation process, increases the probability of coming up with a great new game, and saves time and money.”

Since the global pandemic the games industry has seen exponential growth and it is estimated to be worth $200 Billion by 2023. Every developer is under pressure to create a viable pipeline and now with so many ways of testing games quickly ( a large percentage being rejected before they get through the gates) the appetite is at an all time high for new games ideas and concepts.

Ludo has been created by a small outstanding global team of AI Ph.D.’s and the brainchild of seasoned entrepreneur Tom Pigott, CEO of Jet Play, the developer of Ludo. The new open beta follows a highly successful closed program that saw a select group of studios harness the creative power of AI. Now, with an open beta, games developers can try the platform free of charge for a trial period.

„We’ve been extremely pleased by the feedback and the usage of our platform by the game makers that were part of the closed beta,“ said Pigott. „AI, when used as part of the creative process, delivers great results. It is easy to use, working intuitively with keyword searches, and those involved in our closed beta have already proved that amazing things can be done, and all without detracting from their development or marketing time. Very soon Ludo will become an integral part of every studio’s games ideation process.”

The Ludo open beta program offers an opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of early adoption, giving a head start on a mobile game creation approach that works. Due to the tremendous interest there is a waitlist: those interested in joining the Ludo open beta can apply or find out more here.

Autovol™ Robots and Solutioneers™ Now Building Affordable Housing

First-of-its kind Idaho factory nears completion of five-story San Jose, CA apartment building.

Just over two years since breaking ground, Autovol is now using automation in new ways as it nears completion of its first major affordable housing project. The project, Virginia Street Studios, will make high quality apartment homes more affordable to seniors in San Jose, one of America’s 10 most expensive cities.

Autovol builds with people and robots.

The 400,000 square foot Autovol factory has now successfully deployed its unique combination of construction trades and robotic automation. Autovol has hired more than 100 employees, which the company calls Solutioneers. Led by CEO Rick Murdock and co-developed by The Pacific Companies, Autovol is pioneering a new kind of modular construction.

“Automation and robotics will lead the world into the future of housing,” Murdock said. “What we’re doing hasn’t been attempted before. Our investors and Solutioneers leaned in with lots of confidence, and now we’re seeing great results that prove they were right.”

According to Murdock, automated modular construction is designed to “take the back-breaking work off of people, and use new techniques that weren’t humanly possible.” Robotics empower the company to create new kinds of careers and a culture designed to “raise the bar of career satisfaction in construction,” Murdock said. The company is staffing up toward an expected team of 300-plus Solutioneers, and already has 600 modular units on its docket, with capacity for more.

Besides its own team of Solutioneers, Autovol has helped create over 100 jobs for the various companies helping build, tool-up, and service this first-of-its kind factory. One of these is House of Design, an automation and robotics firm also based in Nampa, Idaho. According to Shane Dittrich, House of Design founder, the company has grown by helping develop this new kind of automation.

“The collaborative effort of people and industrial robots in the off-site construction space provides endless opportunities. We can’t solve the problems of unavailable labor and housing affordability without automation,” Dittrich said. “We also don’t solve these problems without visionary companies willing to take a chance and endure unavoidable speedbumps on the road to extraordinary success. We applaud Autovol for their commitment and we’re excited to be on the forefront of realized robotics for construction technology.”

Virginia Studios will be a five-story, 301-unit complex that will be over-podium, including underground parking. Automation is doing a substantial portion of the work, with Solutioneers skilled in the construction trades doing finishing work and other key tasks.

To learn more about Autovol, its vision, culture, current openings, and the Virginia Street Studios project, visit the company’s just-updated website at http://www.autovol.com

For more information about House of Design Robotics, one of Idaho’s leading automation companies, visit http://www.thehouseofdesign.com

For information about Pacific Companies, developer of The Virginia Street project, and a national leader in affordable housing development, visit http://www.tpchousing.com