The humanoids sucked a lot of the air out of the room. After all, it’s much easier to create tension for robots that look and move like humans. Ultimately, however, the efficacy and scalability of such designs have yet to be proven. For some time, collaborative robots founder Brad Porter has shied away from robots that look like humans. Whether machines can reason like humans, however, is another matter entirely.

As the two-year-old startup’s name suggests, Collaborative Robotics, or Cobot for short, is interested in the way humans and robots collaborate moving forward. The company hasn’t announced its system yet, but Porter told me last year that this “novel collaborative robot” system is neither a humanoid robot nor a mobile manipulator mounted on the back of an autonomous mobile robot (AMR).

However, the system has begun to be deployed in selected locations.

“The entry into service of our first robot earlier this year, coupled with today’s investment, is an important milestone in our journey to bring collaborative robots with human-level capabilities to today’s industry,” Porter said. “We see a virtuous cycle where more robots on site lead to improved artificial intelligence and more cost-effective supply chains.”

A new $100 million Series B round led by General Catalyst with participation from Bison Ventures, Industry Ventures and Lux ​​Capital will help further deployment. This brings the total funding for Bay Area companies to $140 million. General Catalyst’s Teresa Carlson will also join the company in an advisory capacity.

Cobot also has this pedigree, with its employees including former employees of Apple, Meta, Google, Microsoft, NASA and Waymo. Porter himself has worked at Amazon for more than 13 years. When his tenure at the company ended in the summer of 2020, he was leading the retail giant’s industrial robotics team.

During this time, Amazon became one of the world’s largest promoters and consumers of industrial robots, with the company’s now-ubiquitous AMRs proving the efficiency of pairing human and robotic workers together.

Artificial intelligence will naturally form the basis of the company’s promise to “solve human problems,” and ditching the human form factor is in part an attempt to lower the cost of entry for deploying these systems.

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