Intel is investing in robotics company Savioke, a startup whose Relay robot was among the featured products at the chip maker's Intel Developer Forum in August 2015.
Officials with Savioke, which was founded in 2013, announced Jan. 13 that Intel Capital—Intel's investment arm—is leading a $15 million round of funding that also includes EDBI—the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board—and Northern Light Venture Capital. Savioke will use the money to expand sales and marketing, and continue developing its Relay robot, which was first introduced last year and is now being deployed by five major hotel companies, including Residence Inn, they said.
The robot is designed for the services industry and uses the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS). According to Savioke, Relay robots made more than 11,000 deliveries to guests at various hotels last year, covering more than 3,000 kilometers. A Relay robot also was a presence at the IDF 2015 show last year.
"Since the introduction of their Relay robot, the team at Savioke has done an exemplary job growing the market for service robotics," Wendell Books, president of Intel Capital, said in a statement. "Intel Capital sees significant opportunity in this important new market."
The new round of financing brings the total amount raised by Savioke to $17.6 million.
Robotics is one of the growth areas Intel is moving into as it looks to expand the reach of its products into new markets, from drones and wearable devices to cloud computing and the Internet of things (IoT). The chip maker for years has been working in its labs on technologies for robots, and also has been investing in companies in the market. For example, among the Chinese companies that Intel invested $67 million in last September was PraFly, a robotics company.
Intel sees a fast-growing market for such products as its low-power Atom systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and Curie compute module.