This week in robotics: Amazon’s iRobot deal hit EU roadblocks as new funding keeps drone summer rolling

This week brought good news for the robotics space in the form of new investments for nascent companies, but two established players in the space hit a snag. Amazon’s potential $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, which was previously approved by the UK’s antitrust regulator, is now under extensive review by the European Union.

Our resident robotics expert Brian Heater has some additional analysis of the deal, and the memorial of late industry legend Joanne Pransky, in the latest issue of his Actuator newsletter. Subscribe to get those updates every Thursday here.

And for the rest of last week’s robotics news, keep scrolling.

Verity’s $11 million put the drone’s hot summer soaring

Swiss startup Verity announced a new round of funding, on top of its $32 million Series B from last March. Its deal with Ikea, which has already positioned 100 of its drones in 16 warehouses across Europe, has garnered a lot of industry attention, and this particular round will go towards scaling to meet the scaling needs to address the growing opportunities for supply chain automation.

Fire detection automation generated an additional $17 million

Pano AI has developed a camera capable of automatically detecting forest fires, the latter of which captures and sends an early warning of the Kutch Road Fire 14 minutes before the first 911 call.

And with wildfires becoming a growing concern around the world in the face of rising temperatures, Pano AI announced a $17 million extension to its $20 million Series A.

Simbe’s funding increased to $54 million following the BJ Wholesale deal

While Verity’s drone focuses on the warehouse, Simbe focuses on the store itself, with its robot roaming the store to monitor inventory within reach of customers. The company just announced a new round of funding with $28 million Series B following $26 million Series A from late 2019, having just completed its deal placing the Tally robot at all BJ Wholesale Club locations.

Bedrock’s ocean mapping ambitions find $25 million in funding

Every construction project requires surveys, inspections and monitoring, and the same goes for the increasing volume of underwater projects fueled by offshore wind demand. The Bedrock autonomous underwater vehicle aims to do the job instead of an expensive manned survey vessel, and they just announced new $25.5 million funding to expand its mission. Interestingly, their new focus is less on the hardware itself, and more on proving the commercial viability of selling the data they collect through their autonomous explorers.

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