Third Wave Automation has raised $40 million in pre-emptive B-Round

Check out the Third Wave Press Release!

And News Coverage!

The B-round brings total funding to $59 million and will be instrumental in bringing our autonomous vehicles and accompanying learning system to the market.  The pace of warehousing and distribution market growth, as well as continued labor sourcing difficulties, has generated a tremendous customer demand for technology solutions that will meet service level agreements while improving safety and cost-efficiency.

This announcement comes on the heels of a strategic partnership with industrial powerhouse Toyota Industries Corporation, Inc. earlier this year. Toyota is the global leader in the forklift industry.

Historically, industrial automation has been implemented in a brittle way, hardcoded to follow a linear set of instructions. Any unexpected wrinkle, such as a misplaced pallet, box, or person walking through the warehouse, breaks the whole system. Third Wave’s approach is adaptive: we utilize the most advanced 3D perception technology and pair that with real-time route-planning so changes to the environment do not leave customers stranded. Instead, the automation responds in a safe and intelligent way.

Third Wave’s technology will change how the material handling world operates, a desperately needed shift given that modern life depends on material handling. Every time you order something online or purchase from your local shop, material handling equipment plays a mission-critical role in getting you what you want. From the movement of raw materials that become clothing, electronics, and food items to the picking, packing, and shipping of your latest e-commerce impulse purchases. It’s an industrial job that the world depends on with an ever-shrinking labor pool. Technology has been slow to improve this industrial complex despite digital innovation across most industries. Third Wave’s technology radically changes material handling for the better by increasing the capacity to move goods while also improving safety for the people who do this work. 

Forklifts are a $100 billion market that is largely untapped by innovation. Even when automation is adaptive, it can’t account for extreme edge cases or new scenarios that haven’t yet been encountered.  Third Wave is building our system to be environment agnostic and powered by Shared Autonomy which marries the best of automated robotics and human critical thinking.  So, when an automated robot encounters an unfamiliar challenge and isn’t sure how to handle it, the Third Wave robot can “ask a question” to an operator who is seated comfortably at a remote operating station in front of a software-based interface. The operator can give the machine guidance on how to solve a challenge as well as remotely operate the robot from the control station. A single operator can manage 10 or more robots at one time. 

Through continuous learning, our system is robust on day one, and even more robust on day 100. That’s because every time a robot asks for guidance on a challenging task, it learns how to solve that task on its own the next time. But even more, because data insights from every Third Wave robot is stored across the entire system, robots are not just being trained by the operator guidance on site – they can benefit from this continuous learning to any Third Wave-enabled robot at any site. Over time, this will reduce the number of edge case interruptions while increasing efficiency and safety across the board.

We are eager to put these new resources to work as we continue building the future of industrial automation. If you’re intrigued by what we’re doing, consider joining us!

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