Dexterous AI-Powered Robot Stanford Spinout Company RIOS Raises $5 Million

By Dan Anderson ● July 2, 2020
  • RIOS — a developer of dexterous AI-powered robots for automating assembly lines — announced it raised $5 million in venture funding

RIOS — a developer of dexterous AI-powered robots for automating assembly lines — announced that it came out of stealth mode and raised $5 million in venture funding. This funding round was led by Valley Capital Partners (VCP) and Morpheus Ventures with participation from Grit Ventures, Motus Ventures, MicroVentures, and Alumni Ventures Group. And Japanese strategic investors Fuji Corporation and NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. also contributed to the funding. In connection with the funding round, VCP Managing Partner Steve O’Hara, Morpheus Principal Howard Ko, and Grit Managing Partner Jennifer Gill Roberts have joined RIOS’ board of directors.

Spun out of Stanford University, RIOS founded by former Xerox PARC engineers and helps global customers automate their factories, warehouses, and supply chain operations by deploying a new class of highly-dexterous robots that handle hard-to-automate tasks in unstructured environments. RIOS automates individual lines and also builds “lights out” factories by partnering with its network of systems integrators.

RIOS is known for developing and deploying AI-powered robots for assembly lines in factories, warehouses, and supply chain operations. And the RIOS’ robot platform consists of an AI-driven perception system (eye), a central AI (brain), and a purpose-built intelligent end-effector (hand) powered by the world’s most advanced tactile sensors.

RIOS first product — which is called DX-1 — is a full-stack, multi-purpose robot able to perform a broad range of tasks from pick-and-place of arbitrary objects to complex component assembly (a skill set largely unseen in the robotics industry until now). DX-1 is able to interact with objects in both static and dynamic applications like bin picking and moving conveyor belts.

Plus RIOS’ technology delivers true biomimetic touch in a compact footprint, with thousands of miniature sensors relaying information about pressure, texture, and temperature. And the sensor data are processed by embedded processors running RIOS’ proprietary AI algorithms to give the robots human-level dexterity. RIOS robots possess true haptic intelligence capabilities including optimal grasp, slip detection, surface topography mapping, and texture discrimination.

RIOS is known to industry agnostic. And its robots possess higher levels of dexterity, cognitive skills, and autonomy than existing industrial robots — which allow them to be easily programmed to perform a wide variety of tasks across different industries, handling thousands of SKUs in any environment. And most other industrial robots are scripted to perform single repetitive tasks on tightly-controlled assembly lines. In pilots, DX-1 learned to adapt to multiple use cases in manufacturing, automotive assembly, lab automation, and food services.

Key Quotes:

“We’re building robots of the future—ones that can learn on the job, construct models of the world, and extend these models to perform different tasks in unstructured environments. We’re excited to come out of stealth mode and look forward to deploying our robots on a massive scale across every industry. With a first-of-its-kind haptic intelligence platform combining dedicated hardware, computer vision, and AI, our robots can learn to grasp and handle many types of objects, precisely selecting and assembling parts and performing complex manipulation tasks.”

– Dr. Bernard Casse, CEO and founder of RIOS

“RIOS is the rare robotics company that combines unparalleled technical horsepower, from a founding team of skilled PhD engineers, with a massive addressable market and an experienced leader at the helm. We believe in Bernard’s vision for automation-as-a-service, recognize the potential for wide-scale global deployment of RIOS’ dexterous robots in many environments, and have seen firsthand how the company’s highly-intelligent robots can manipulate many types of objects with the incredible dexterity of a human hand.”

– Steve O’Hara, managing partner at Valley Capital Partners

“While others in the space are tackling simpler use cases like pick-and-pack, RIOS has combined its haptic and perception capabilities to deliver a next-generation solution today. The RIOS robot does complex autonomous manipulation that enables it to easily integrate into existing assembly lines to deliver a real-world increase in productivity and cost savings.”

– Howard Ko, Principal at Morpheus