ABB has announced the acquisition of Sevensense, a Swiss start-up specializing in AI-based 3D vision navigation technology for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Sevensense, established in 2018 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich, focuses on developing AI-enabled navigation technologies.
Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation, mentioned that the acquisition aligns with ABB’s vision of AI-enabled robots assisting in workplaces, particularly addressing labor shortages. He emphasized the collective capability of mobile robots equipped with vision and AI in creating dynamic maps for autonomous operation in changing environments.
The acquisition follows ABB’s initial minority investment in Sevensense in 2021 and complements its previous acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. ABB plans to incorporate Sevensense’s technology into its AMR portfolio, aiming to enhance the capabilities of these robots in terms of speed, accuracy, and payload.
The mobile robot market is projected to grow significantly in the coming years, with ABB’s AI-powered 3D vision technology playing a key role. Sevensense’s navigation technology, which combines AI and 3D vision, allows AMRs to intelligently differentiate between static and dynamic objects, facilitating navigation in complex environments. This technology has already been implemented in pilot projects in the automotive and logistics industries.
ABB’s AMRs, featuring Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visual SLAM) technology, are employed by companies like Ford and Michelin for efficiency gains in production and intralogistics. The technology enables robots to navigate autonomously, reducing commissioning time and allowing for real-time map updates and scalability.
Marc Segura, President of ABB’s Robotics Division, highlighted that the acquisition positions ABB as a leader in next-generation AMRs, offering an integrated portfolio that includes Visual SLAM technology. Gregory Hitz, CEO of Sevensense, expressed optimism about the acquisition, noting its potential to expand the application of their technology across various markets and sectors.
The technology developed by Sevensense is expected to have a broad impact on robotics, enhancing efficiency, flexibility, and accuracy in production and intralogistics. It will continue to be available under the Sevensense brand name in various segments, including material handling and service robotics.
The acquisition is part of ABB’s strategy to invest in innovative technologies through partnerships with start-ups and universities, aiming to develop advanced solutions for global businesses. Sevensense’s team of approximately 35 employees will remain based in Zurich.