Cover photo for Joe Daft
Japan-based AMR (autonomous mobile robot) manufacturer LexxPluss announced this month that it had secured ¥1.45 billion (about $11 million U.S.) in a Series A funding round, following on from a pre-Series A round of funding in November of 2021. The now two-year-old, Japan-based startup LexxPluss was founded in 2020 by Masaya Aso, a former Bosch employee. When not developing LexxPluss, Aso is also the president of Deep4Drive, an open mobility development community focused on automated driving and reinforcement learning.  LexxPluss’ primary customers are in the Japanese logistics and automotive sectors, some of which have operations in the U.S. Aso has said that it wants to use its existing clients' relationships to enter the U.S. market, the largest autonomous mobile robots market, which was already sized at $762 million in 2021 and is expected to grow to $3.2 billion by 2028, accounting for about 40% of the global market share. To remove the obstacles introducing robots into the Japanese logistics industry, Aso differentiates his company by developing robots that can cooperate with humans in hardware and software with a hybrid of an AGV (autonomous guided vehicle) and AMR. LexxPluss is particularly interesting because its focus is on an Open Source approach, unlike its Japan-based AMR rival Toyota, who launched its first SLAM-based AMR to the global market last year, the catchy named “Automated horizontal carrier CDI120”. “At LexxPluss, we have made our Robotics Automation Technology open source, under the banner "Open Source Industrial Robotics". We are happy to publically share our technology for free, in hopes of building better products for everyone.” LexxPluss appears to mean real Open Source, not just part of their ecosystem. Now available in English, their website covers all aspects of the AMR design, circuit boards and software being open source for dedicated members of its Open Source Industrial Robotics program — a far cry from most AMR manufacturers currently operating and selling within the U.S. and Europe. Time will tell where LexxPluss will ultimately secure market share. Still, if the specification of its first AMR and the Open Source approach are anything to go by, it will undoubtedly be interesting watching this newcomer to the AMR market “gold rush”.
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