Neura Robotics raises $55M round to build more AI-powered robots

Neura Robotics raises $55M round to build more AI-powered robots

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Germany-based robot maker Neura Robotics GmbH has raised $55 million in fresh funding to support business growth initiatives.

Announced today, the round was led by investment firm Lingotto. The firm is an affiliate of Exor N.V., a Netherlands-based holding company that maintains stakes in auto giant Stellantis NV and several other large enterprises. Vsquared Ventures, Primepulse and HV Capital also participated in Neura’s latest raise.

Neura is developing a wheeled robot assistant it calls MiPA. The system includes onboard artificial intelligence software that allows it to process voice commands from users and automatically avoid obstacles. According to Neura, MiPA will be available in multiple versions optimized for various industry-specific use cases.

The startup also offers a collection of more conventional robots optimized for use in manufacturing and logistics facilities. Like MiPA, those systems are equipped with onboard AI software. 

As part of its product portfolio, Neura offers several lines of robot arms geared towards factory automation use cases. A carmaker, for example, could use Neura’s systems to weld together auto parts or move them from one conveyor belt to another. According to Neura, its robots include safety features that allow them to operate in proximity to humans.

Installing robot arms in a factory can involve months of work. The reason is that programming such machines to perform a manufacturing task often requires writing custom code, which takes a significant amount of time. According to Neura, its robots can be programmed in minutes through a drag and drop interface that doesn’t require coding. 

For warehouse operators, meanwhile, Neura offers an autonomous vehicle called MAV. It’s a rectangular, wheeled robot that can be used to transport merchandise from one part of a logistics facility to another. The latest iteration of the system, the MAV 500, can carry more than 1,100 pounds and cover up to 4.9 feet per second.

Customers can optionally attach one of Neura’s robot arms to a MAV system. This arrangement makes it possible to move the robot arm between different parts of a facility as requirements change. Companies can use software provided by Neura to which system should perform what task and where, as well as collect diagnostics data. 

“If you are serious about software, you need to embrace hardware,” said Vsquared Ventures general partner Herbert Mangesius. “This is particularly true for robotic automation and has been a bottleneck in bringing cutting-edge machine learning and cognitive capabilities into the industrial and services world for many years.”

Neura will use its newly raised funding round to expand its robot manufacturing infrastructure. The move, the startup says, is a response to growing demand for its systems. Customers have ordered more than $450 million worth of Neura hardware to date.

Another portion of the newly raised capital will be spent on go-to-market initiatives. As part of the effort, Neura plans to expand its market presence in the U.S. and Japan. 

Image: Neura

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