Alphabet-owned Intrinsic acquires co-robot software company Vicarious – TechCrunch


Alphabet X-birthed Intrinsic made its big debut last September. The subsidiary is trying to break the parent company’s somewhat spotty robotics record with a software-first approach. In particular, the company aims to make manufacturing robots more intelligent — a concept that is sure to excite many in space amid a pandemic-driven demand for automation.

Today it made its second big news: an acquisition. Intrinsic acquires fellow AI/robot intelligence company Vicarious. The Bay Area-based company has been in business for a dozen years, raising a healthy $250 million in that time from big names like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Samsung. The company describes its technology as “a turnkey robotics solutions integrator that uses AI to automate tasks too complex and versatile for traditional automation.” This includes standard warehouse and logistics tasks such as palletising, picking and packing.

The deal will see CEO Scott Phoenix on board as CCO, while a small team from the company led by Deputy CTO Dileep George will actually join the DeepMind research team. In the first intrinsic announcement post, CEO Wendy Tan-White noted that the company is partnering with teams across Alphabet — and that certainly seems to be the case here.

“For more than a decade, Vicarious has been pushing the boundaries of intelligent robotics and AI across multiple industries with visionary clients, building an interdisciplinary team and a unique culture,” Tan-White said in a post. “We believe combining our efforts will help us resolve industry issues faster and accelerate our shared mission.”

Intrinsic has remained largely silent since launch, opting to focus on setting up some technology pilots with real production companies. That’s likely to stay that way, as the announcement doesn’t provide much more information about the deal. Although Tan-White promises more details, “in the coming months”.

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