Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) provider Covariant is planning to scale up its technology for automated material handling applications across multiple industries, thanks to $40 million in new venture capital funding announced today.
Berkeley, California-based Covariant raised the “series B” funding in a deal that was led by Index Ventures, along with Radical Ventures and participation from existing investor Amplify Partners and others. The investment raises the firm’s total funding to $67 million, and will be used to accelerate Covariant’s partnerships, introduce AI Robotics to new industries, and grow its research, engineering, and commercial teams, the firm said.
The latest funding follows Covariant’s moves to build partnerships with industrial robotics supplier ABB and with intralogistics systems supplier Knapp, both intended to accelerate the deployment of robotic stations to customers.
"As the coronavirus crisis has exposed serious frailty in the global supply chain, we're seeing more demand than ever for our AI Robotics solutions," Peter Chen, Covariant’s CEO and co-founder, said in a release. "Our customers are eager to invest in AI and scale it across their supply chains to meet growing demands and more stringent requirements. This latest funding round, along with our recent partnerships, will allow us to scale quickly across multiple industries."
According to Covariant, the global supply chain is facing unprecedented pressure to deliver orders quickly, reliably, and efficiently, while keeping workers safe in sectors from food distribution to healthcare to e-commerce. The company says that existing technology has successfully automated “repetitive and predictable tasks” like the movement of goods, but that new solutions are required to handle “complex and unpredictable tasks” that require hands, such as picking, placing and unloading. Traditional automation can't handle the constant change and infinite variability of these tasks, unless it applies artificial intelligence like the firm’s Covariant Brain, a universal AI that enables robots to see, reason, and act autonomously in the real world, the company said.
We’ve raised $40m in Series B funding led by @IndexVentures w/ AI-focused @Radicalvcfund + existing investor @AmplifyPartners. Grateful for the support of our investors, customers + partners as we continue to bring AI Robotics to the real world! https://t.co/iceCqajRir— CovariantAI (@CovariantAI) May 6, 2020