IMC Newsdesk

XYZ Robotics raises $20m to develop logistics robots

  • September 14, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

XYZ Robotics, a developer of a 3D vision system and end-of-arm tooling for logistics and industrial automation, has announced a series A+ round of nearly $20m. The Massachusetts- and China-based company said the capital would fuel its research and development and business expansion.

The money will also go towards operational capabilities as well as large-scale deployment. Piece picking is still a challenge for robots, particularly in high-variability applications such as ecommerce order fulfilment.

The identification of unknown SKUs of various shapes and sizes is one of the biggest problems in logistics. XYZ Robotics said its artificial intelligence and patent-pending tool-changing system could reduce the requirements for costly hardware.

CEO Zhou Jiaji, chief technology officer Peter Kuan-Ting Yu, and chief financial officer Xingliang Libo have degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, MIT and Peking University, respectively. They founded the start-up in 2018, and the core team ranked in the top three in Amazon Robotics Challenges three years in a row.

MassRobotics member XYZ claimed its 3D perception systems, motion planning and deep-learning algorithms could improve efficiency and SKU coverage while reducing the rate of human intervention.

For example, the company said it recently took only two weeks to integrate, test and fine-tune a piece-picking station at a logistics warehouse. The system was delivered and operated with 99.9% accuracy rate before a shopping holiday with expected return on investment of two years.

Not only is XYZ scaling its piece-picking systems, but it said it was also adapting its vision systems and end effectors to other applications. The company said its understanding of manufacturing and logistics workflows enabled it to combine hardware and software for ecommerce, mixed-load palletising and depalletising, and high-speed industrial kitting.

“XYZ Robotics will continue deepening its understanding of logistics and manufacturing, improving robot’s hand-eye coordination capabilities, and making such ready for mass production,” said Jiaji Zhou. “We will utilise the capital resources to expand our talented team and push the boundary of our technology so as to keep bringing better solutions to the customers.”

Source Code Capital led the series A+ round, which was oversubscribed by Gaorong Capital and Morningside Capital. Guangyuan Capital was the exclusive investment advisor.

“From mobility to grasping, robots’ capabilities are getting closer to human beings,” said Runze Chen, vice president at Source Code Capital. “More data, better algorithms and growing compute power will enable more robots in various scenarios. XYZ Robotics is formed by excellent R&D, engineering and business talent. We believe that such focus in these fields will allow XYZ to break through more challenging scenarios. And XYZ’s hand-eye coordination technology will become a standard component for robots.”

Bin Yue, co-founder of Gaorong Capital, added: “From a campus laboratory two years ago to a team with both technical strength and commercialisation capabilities, XYZ Robotics has been acknowledged by leading logistics and retail companies.”

And Zhe Chen, vice president at Morningside Capital, said: “As a young and energetic start-up, XYZ Robotics has an extraordinary technical vision and R&D capabilities. I also believe that XYZ’s hand-eye coordination technology will become the core foundation in the coming robotic era, empowering millions of robots to be widely used in various industries.”