Apollo developed from Apptronik's experience and expertise in building over 10 previous robots including NASA's Valkyrie robot
Apollo will operate in warehouses and manufacturing plants in the near term with endless potential applications long term
AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Apptronik, a leader in next-generation general purpose robots designed to change the way we live and work, today unveiled Apollo, the world's most capable humanoid robot. Designed to transform the industrial workforce and beyond in service of improving the human experience, Apollo is the first commercial humanoid robot that was designed for friendly interaction, mass manufacturability, performance, and safety.
"As labor challenges and employment trends continue to impact our economy, we need to fundamentally change the way we think about work, particularly in the warehouse and the supply chain," said Jeff Cardenas, co-founder and CEO of Apptronik. "People don't want to do robotic, physically demanding work in tough conditions and they shouldn't have to. Humanoid robots are not just an answer to this challenge, they are a necessity – and because of our deep robotics lineage, Apollo is uniquely positioned to quite literally step in and make an impact."
Apptronik's team has spent nearly a decade together building over 10 unique robots, all culminating in Apollo, a humanoid robot built to work in environments designed for, and directly alongside, humans. At roughly human size (5 foot 8 inches tall and 160 pounds in weight with the ability to lift 55 pounds), Apollo has a unique force control architecture that maintains safe operation around people similar to a collaborative robot versus a traditional industrial robot.
In addition to practical safety features, the physical design of Apollo is critical to making people comfortable working around and with humanoid robots. Apollo's strategic design was pioneered by argodesign, who created a form that balances complexity and approachability, is easy to use and work with, and is distinct and recognizable. Digital panels on Apollo's face and chest foster easy communication and its friendly, human-like countenance sets a new standard for human-robot interactions, approximating a congenial face-to-face exchange with a favorite co-worker.
Apptronik's lineage of robotics excellence has brought important lessons on achieving unmatched safety (through its work creating robotic exoskeletons), improving payload while maintaining affordability (through unique industrial robotic arms that lift more than they weigh), developing dynamic walking capabilities (through numerous bi-pedal mobility platforms), and enabling fine grained manipulation (via its upper body humanoid evolutions). This development of different types of robots also allows Apptronik to build modularity into Apollo's design, empowering users to decide whether Apollo is best used for their applications as a true bi-pedal walking humanoid, a torso that operates on wheels or one mounted in a stationary location.
Just as critical as its physical abilities and friendly appearance is Apollo's cost-efficient, mass-manufacturable and energy-efficient design. Learning from over a decade of iteration and 35 different models of electric actuation systems, Apollo's hardware design achieves unmatched performance per cost. Apollo is the first truly mass manufacturable humanoid design and has been optimized for supply chain resiliency by removing single-sourced core components, another first in the market. This unique design along with Apptronik's location near the Texas-Mexico manufacturing corridor are critical elements needed to produce affordable humanoid robots at scale.
Apollo's swappable batteries, each with a four-hour runtime, allows the robots to continue working with a simple battery change rather than each unit requiring a plug-in charge during which time they cannot complete their tasks. In short, this battery-based approach means greater work output for Apollo and greater operational efficiency for customers.
While Apptronik is initially focused on case and tote handling solutions in the logistics and manufacturing industries, Apollo is a general purpose robot that is designed to work in the real world where development partners will extend Apollo's solutions far beyond logistics and manufacturing eventually extending into construction, oil and gas, electronics production, retail, home delivery, elder care and countless more. Apollo is the "iPhone" of robots, enabling development partners to expand on Apptronik developed solutions and extend the digital world into the physical world to work alongside people and do the jobs that they don't want to do.
"Robotics solutions are in high demand in the logistics sector as companies grapple with a shortage of labor and volatile demand. Billions of dollars are being invested in implementing robots to help pick, move and sort goods through warehouses across the world," commented Ash Sharma, Managing Director at market intelligence firm Interact Analysis. "Humanoid robotic solutions are the next step in the evolution of the industry as customers look for more flexible automation that can be used across multiple workflows."
As one of NASA's partners for developing the next generation of humanoid robots, and also part of the original Valkyrie development team, Apptronik is working to support NASA's goals such as reducing human exposure to hazardous environments and, potentially, extending humanity's reach in space. With Apollo, Apptronik is not only bringing its practical experience with NASA to the commercial market, but also advancing that shared human-first vision with a humanoid robot designed to take on dangerous and dirty tasks in industrial settings today and to execute virtually unlimited applications in the future.
"We believe that Apollo is one of the most advanced tools humanity has ever created – how we apply it will change the way that we live and work," said Cardenas. "This is a remarkable achievement for Apptronik, but also just another step on our – and Apollo's – journey."
Apptronik is a leader in next-generation general purpose robots designed to change the way we live and work. Apollo, a humanoid robot built to work alongside people in environments designed for people, culminated from the design and development of over 10 general purpose robots including extensive work on NASA Valkyrie. The company was founded in 2016 out of the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, with a mission to leverage innovative technology for the betterment of society. Apptronik's goal is to introduce the next generation of robots that will change the way people live and work, while tackling some of our world's largest challenges. To learn more about at Apptronik, please visit https://apptronik.com.
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