Assistive and robotic devices: the struggle for consistent market

In this modern era of assistive and robotic devices, is there a consistent market? Let’s analyze. On July 7 the developer of the famous Nao and Pepper robots announced that they are reducing their Paris-based workforce that had 330 employees as of March 2021.The Robot Report confirmed that this news and was first reported by French media outlet. According to the upcoming report published by the media it was reported that Softbank Robotics Europe lost $38 million in its fiscal 2019-2020 year and more than $119 million over the last three previous years.

In spite of their worldwide fame, the Nao and Pepper robots was not successful in achieving financial success. Most of the 27,000 Nao and Pepper robots were sold in Japan, which is more accepting to humanoid robots than in Europe, the United States and in other parts of the world. Selling many robots itself is certainly an achievement, but price and capabilities were often issues for Pepper, which costs $30,000 in the U.S.

A Softbank Robotics Europe employee who wished to remain anonymous, told The Robot Report thank the market for Nao and Pepper is smaller than that of their expectation they added that it is not sustainable to have this many workers in Paris because of the economic and financial crisis that they are facing recently.

Softbank has also made other changes to its robotics strategy too the most notable is offloading 80% of its ownership stake in Boston Dynamics to Hyundai for $880 million. They were also paid $2.8 billion for 40% ownership stake in AutoStore, who is a prime developer of automated storage and retrieval systems. The logistics market is thriving automation-wise, and now Softbank is tied down with a vital players. AutoStore has also recently have a global blue-chip buyer base which is higher than 600 and they have also 20,000 robots across 35 countries.

Softbank also currently partnered with Bear Robotics on serving and bussing robots which was founded in 2017, Bear Robotics’ robots operate in restaurants, corporate campuses, senior care facilities, and casinos across North America, Asia, and Europe. Softbank is an investor in Bear Robotics too.

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