Brain Corp welcomes $114m funding from SoftBank's Vision Fund
San Diego-based AI company Brain Corp has raised $114m through SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
Brain has secured the money to help realise the potential of its technology; artificial intelligence that can turn a manufacturer’s manual equipment into a robot.
The robot is able to recognise its environment, control motion and avoid obstacles, with the AI currently used with manufacturers Ice, NSS and Minuteman International.
SoftBank’s investment will allow Brain to develop its technology for ‘multiple types of commercial and consumer robots’.
“At Brain, we believe tomorrow’s robots will be intelligent autonomous machines that take care of us. Such robots will be as commonplace as computers and mobile phones are today,” said Brain CEO Dr Eugene Izhikevich.
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“This funding will allow us to accelerate our mission, and we look forward to collaborating with the SoftBank Vision Fund as a long-term strategic partner.”
Qualcomm Ventures, Brain’s first institutional investor, joined SoftBank on the funding round and will have a seat on the company’s board.
Japanese giant SoftBank has made this commitment at the same time as investing $159m in auto-tech company Nauto and $200m in Silicon Valley indoor farming startup Plenty.
Its Vision Fund is a combination of equity and debt from backers such as the state governments of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, as well as the likes of Apple and Sharp.
“Brain is developing truly ground-breaking technology that transforms manually operated machines into autonomous robots," added Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp.
“Brain's team is at the forefront of creating the future and a more convenient way of life through technology. We are confident in their success and look forward to seeing them realize their vision.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.