Former GoogleX and SpaceX Founders With Renowned Designer Yves Behar
SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2017 – Cobalt, the robotics company formed by former GoogleX and SpaceX engineers, today unveils a robot specifically designed to work alongside humans. Cobalt is building indoor robots for security, designed to work alongside human guards to provide better security than people can do alone. Cobalt robots have the sensing, computation, and intelligence of an autonomous car.
“A fleet of Cobalt robots is comparable to an extremely competent guard with super-human capabilities and omnipresent situational awareness across an entire organization,” said Cobalt CEO and Co-Founder Travis Deyle.
Security is necessary but it’s often cost prohibitive for companies to provide twenty-four hour security presence. The Cobalt robot allows security to have a presence so that they can remote in, see what’s going on, look for intruders, and it also serves a purpose for the employees. If something bad happens, it’s currently on the employee to either call the police or fumble around looking for the security number of their corporate office. Cobalt lets them go up to the robot and immediately get a person to talk to.
“One of the core fundamental values of Cobalt is to enable human-to-machine interactions,” said Erik Schluntz, Cobalt CTO and Co-Founder. “The way we do that is designing a robot to interact with and around people.”
Cobalt worked with world-renowned designer Yves Behar and his company, fuseproject, to define the form and interactions. The balance between approachability and discretion became a thematic challenge throughout the design process.
“As robotics and AI touch more areas of our daily lives, the role of the designer is to make these technologies accessible, augment our abilities and create our best possible future,” says industrial designer Yves Behar. “The Cobalt design is very different in that it is made of fabric and aluminum, an aesthetic more akin to furniture and workspaces than a Hollywood robot.”
Using extremely capable sensors (day-night 360° cameras, thermal cameras, depth cameras, LIDAR, etc.) and cutting-edge algorithms (machine learning, semantic mapping, novelty detection, and deep neural networks), the Cobalt robot detects and flags security-relevant conditions or anomalies — things like people, doors & windows, suspicious items, items that have moved or changed, and water leaks.
Bloomberg Beta and Promus Ventures led Cobalt’s seed round, with participation from Haystack, Subtraction Capital, Comet Labs and various individual angel investors.
“Our fund has been searching for the most immediately useful applications of robotics, and Cobalt has found one. We look forward to seeing safer and better workplaces, served by Cobalt,” said Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta.
“It’s a privilege to work with the Cobalt team,” said Michael Collett, Managing Partner at Promus Ventures. “We’re excited to build robotic solutions that provide enhanced security to what exists today, using the latest in computer vision, machine learning and robotic technology. This is an industry where robotic surveillance, over just human patrol, will create a far safer and secure environment for company, personnel, and facilities.”
Cobalt is building indoor robots for security that are designed to work alongside human guards to provide better security than people can do alone. The robots constantly patrol a building, looking for intruders or anything out of the ordinary. Cobalt was founded by technologists and roboticists, and designed by Yves Behar. Investors include Bloomberg Beta and Promus Ventures. For more information please visit cobaltrobotics.com.