SLAMcore, a UK company developing spatial AI algorithms for robots and drones, has secured $5 million in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures and MMC Ventures. The funding will allow SLAMcore to meet pandemic-induced demand in the robotics market (as well as drones and other applications of artificial intelligence), since these technologies can help deal with staff shortages and social distancing rules in healthcare, manufacturing and supply chains. CEO Owen Nicholson commented: “Even before the crisis, SLAMcore was engaged in many conversations with companies – big and small – who needed a better way to solve spatial intelligence issues in robotics. Especially across sectors such as drones, robots, and AR/VR, the coronavirus pandemic has lit the touch-paper and we are primed to meet exploding demand.”
The London-based startup was founded in 2016. Its algorithms help solve a main obstacle to the lack of adoption and deployment of robots: lack of spatial understanding. Without this, robots can’t move completely autonomously.
Mina Samaan, principal at MMC Ventures, explained: “The ability to locate and map in real-time is still unsolved in the vast majority of autonomous designs. Therefore, affordable SLAM delivered as-a-service at scale is fundamental to unlocking the adoption of self-driving robots across all indoor and outdoor applications including agriculture, warehousing and last-mile delivery.”
Back in 2018, the UK team raised a $5 million seed round led by Amadeus Capital Partners. The new funding will help commercialisation of SLAMcore’s technology, specifically its new SDK product, which allows developers to build, test and deploy solutions using SLAMcore algorithms and off-the-shelf sensors.