February 24, 2021

Symbio400x275Symbio Robotics has emerged from stealth mode, announcing its goal of modernizing industrial manufacturing by making existing industrial robots faster, more capable and flexible through advanced software. The company also announced $30 million in funding to help reach its goal.

The company’s SymbioDCS is industrial robotics middleware and a Python programming framework that “radically simplifies the programming of industrial robots” to make them more intelligent. SymbioDCS enables robot programmers to leverage real-time sensor information and feedback from existing automation sensors, combined with advanced control software. The company said industrial robots that are programmed and managed with SymbioDCS quickly learn and execute tasks to increase efficiency, improve quality and reduce ergonomic hazards.

The company, based in Emeryville Calif., and founded in 2014, is now working with Nissan Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation, in addition to other major companies. The $30 million investment was led by ACME Capital, with participation from existing investors, including Andreesen Horowitz, Eclipse Ventures and The House Fund.

“Symbio is doing for manufacturing what Windows did for DOS,” said Max Reynolds, the CEO and co-founder of Symbio. “Existing industrial manufacturing robots run proprietary programming languages making them slow and cumbersome. Not only do these robots lack dexterity, they lack the intelligence to make them do what they need to do. Our technology is designed to fundamentally reframe these existing manufacturing pain points by utilizing the best practices of AI and human-robot interaction. That’s what we believe will drive success.”

Symbio said it is focusing on building automation that enables the best of human-machine collaboration, rather than black-box systems that operate fully autonomously. The framework is designed to support programmers that are already working in these environments, including the automotive industry.

how symbio dcs works expanded

“Developers are humans too, so the human-machine collaboration paradigm should apply to them as well,” said Anca Dragan, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. “Instead of exclusively providing automation solutions, Symbio is also designing the tools that enable the developers and domain experts working in manufacturing to create their own automation solutions and easily adapt them to new tasks. To do this, they are building products that leverage AI strengths and human insight in a symbiotic way.”

The company aims to focus on providing generalized solutions that enable companies to adopt AI as a core competency, opposed to a traditional automation approach that provides custom solutions to specific problems. Symbio said AI solutions will look very different, “because it’s not just about creating the automation, it’s about creating and providing the tools that empower teams to design their own solutions through the use of AI, and easily adapt to the task at hand.”

“We’ve seen cars become much more complex and customized in the decades since the onset of industrial automation,” said Greg Reichow, partner at Eclipse Ventures and the former head of global manufacturing and automation engineering at Tesla. “Today’s automakers need more nimble and nuanced robotics to perform increasingly sophisticated assemblies. Symbio provides the exact solution for forward-thinking manufacturers, through an AI-powered platform that combines advanced compute, sensing and precision-control software.”

Symbio’s framework runs on edge computing infrastructure through industrial networks to inform and instruct current factory systems to make final assembly tasks available that were never automated before. “This allows, for the first time, the development of new sets of applications and programs to perform more complex and dexterous tasks, in addition to improving automation that already exists, such as door, wheel and windshield assembly, fastening, welding, and painting,” the company said.

More details on the company and its software are available here.

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