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Canada Dresden startup Wandelbots wants to become the Microsoft of robotics

14:40  25 september  2020
14:40  25 september  2020 Source:   de.reuters.com

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Employees of the German start-up Wandelbots demonstrate how a robot can be taught © Reuters / ANDREAS GEBERT Employees of the German start-up Wandelbots demonstrate how a robot can be taught

Berlin (Reuters) - The Dresden startup Wandelbots wants to become the Microsoft of robotics.

"Every assembly line worker in every company can train a robot with our technology," said company founder and boss Christian Piechnick in an interview with the Reuters news agency. So that people without programming knowledge can train robots, the company has developed a platform that works independently of the robot, gripper arm and camera. There is also the so-called trace pen, a kind of mouse. With this sensor-equipped pen, the activity that the robot is supposed to learn is carried out as an example and then rewritten in automation scripts for the robot. That is 15 to 70 times faster than with normal programming, said Piechnick.

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The first batch of the Tracepen, produced in Oulu, Finland, will be delivered at the beginning of October. Customers include Volkswagen. "We will deliver a total of 1000 devices this year, all of which have already been sold," said Piechnick. In the Corona crisis, the demand for automation technology increased because customers wanted to transfer a larger part of the production to robots in order to protect employees.

Wandelbot's combination of hardware and software has aroused the interest of Microsoft and Siemens, who have been involved in the spin-off of the Technical University of Dresden founded in 2017. The startup has already collected around 38 million euros in total. More is not planned. According to Piechnick, it is now a matter of "generating sales as quickly as possible". There is no shortage of big goals: "We want to build a world market leader for robotics in Germany and at some point go public."

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