Robotics capital of the world, here we come: One of Pittsburgh’s leading robotics firms just ranked in the top five most innovative robotics companies in the world.
This week, Fast Company published its annual list of World’s Most Innovative Companies, which recognizes the publication’s selections for the top 50 most innovative companies overall, along with the 10 most innovative companies for industries ranging from artificial intelligence to consumer goods to education. For 2022’s list, Pittsburgh-based autonomous mobile robotics (ARM) firm Seegrid was ranked as the fourth most innovative robotics company in the world.
Fast Company named the company’s introduction of a rent-a-robot business model as the primary reason for its high ranking. In addition to introducing three new ARM models within the last year, Seegrid, which has offices based near the Pittsburgh International Airport, also launched a robots as a service (RaaS) subscription model for its clients, which the company says include some of the largest manufacturing, warehousing and logistics companies in the world.
The three companies named above Seegrid on the list included two San Francisco-based firms, DroneDeploy and Nimble, along with one Danish robot manufacturer, Mobile Industrial Robots.
“I am incredibly proud of Seegrid’s collective ability to solve complex material handling challenges,” said CEO Jim Rock in a statement on the Fast Company ranking. “We’re committed to delivering mobile automation solutions that safely bring transformational change to the world’s supply chain.”
Fast Company’s ranking isn’t the only global recognition Seegrid’s earned in the last year. Last fall, the company earned a top ranking for all mobile robots and in worldwide market share for automated tow tractors in the 2021 Mobile Robots Report from Interact Analysis, a market research company for industrial automation.
“I think what this shows is the market and commercial success that we’ve had — not just the technical success — and I think that’s an important inflection point for robotics companies,” Seegrid VP of Product Jeff Christensen told Technical.ly at the time.
A press release from Seegrid on the news credited much of the innovation and breakthrough technology in the AMR space to Hans Moravec, cofounder and chief roboticist, who is a renowned research leader in robotics and computer vision and an adjunct faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.
In addition to Moravec’s leadership, Seegrid also now pursues in-house innovation through Blue Labs, a research and development group the company launched last year to accelerate internal projects toward new technology. That group, the press release said, led to the successful development of the company’s first autonomous lift truck, the Seegrid Palion Lift AMR, which will be unveiled at the MODEX conference later this month. That product also earned it a nomination for Invention of the Year in the inaugural Technical.ly Awards for Pittsburgh in 2021.
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.-30-