10 notable acquisitions in 2021

This year, we covered over 50 mergers, acquisitions and SPAC deals worth billions of dollars. Here are 10 robotics acquisitions, in chronological order, that stood out to us in 2021. For all the mergers and acquisitions, check out our special section. Follow The Robot Report on Twitter @TheRobotReport.

Spot robot

Hyundai acquires boston dynamics

Hyundai bought 80% of Boston Dynamics for $880 million. The company has been passed between a few different hands in the last decade. In 2013, it was bought by Google, and then sold to Softbank in 2017. Softbank maintained a 20% stake in the company after the acquisition.

Teledyne acquires flir

Teledyne announced that it would acquire FLIR for $8 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. The two companies had similar product offerings, like sensor systems, cameras and unmanned systems. The combined companies have an edge in the unmanned vehicle field, as it can produce the sensors and cameras for its systems in-house.

Vicarious Surgical

Vicarious surgical spac deal

Vicarious is among a dozen companies that are major players in the robot-assisted surgery field. In the $1.1 billion deal, Vicarious merged with Hong Kong based D8 Holdings. Former Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak, former Verb Surgical and Volcano Corp. CEO Scott Huenneken are chairing their own SPACs.

American Robotics

American Robotics was the first company that the FAA approved to fly drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight without a human operator on the ground. The company’s fully-automated commercial drone system Scout is designed for data gathering applications. The acquisition bodes well for the drone industry as a whole.

Fetch Robotics AMR product line

Zebra technologies acquires fetch robotics

July saw four major acquisitions that made it on to this list. The $290 million acquisition makes Zebra a one-stop-shop for warehouse technology needs. Fetch Robotics develops autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), the product missing from Zebra’s offering. AMRs saw a lot of growth in 2021, particularly in acquisitions.

Aurora Toyota Denso

In a SPAC deal with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, Aurora went public. The combined company, Aurora Innovation Inc, was valued at $13 billion after the merger. Aurora develops an L4 autonomous driving system for robotaxis and semi trucks. Prior to the acquisition, Aurora acquired Uber’s self-driving division.

Novanta acquired ATI Industrial Automation for $172 million less than a week after acquiring Schneider Electric Motion USA. The acquisition expands Novanta’s presence in the robotics industry, and increases its customer base and IP portfolio. Novanta is a supplier of technology solutions for medical and advanced equipment manufacturers.

ABB OmniCore E10 Controller

Abb acquires asti mobile robots

ABB already produced industrial and collaborative robots, but was one of the biggest robotics providers at the time that didn’t have an AMR. The acquisition gives ASTI the opportunity to expand its customer base from 20 to over 50 companies. Prior to the acquisition, ASTI made $50 million a year, and was growing 30% annually.

Unlike ABB or Zebra Technology, Locus Robotics was already an AMR producer when it acquired fellow AMR company Waypoint Robotics. Waypoint’s AMRs were capable of higher payloads than Locus’. The acquisition gives Waypoint more legitimacy in the industry, as companies were concerned about working with a smaller AMR.

iRobot Aeris air purification

Irobot acquires aeris cleantec ag

iRobot paid $72 million for Switzerland-based air purifier company Aeris. The acquisition supports iRobot’s smart home focus, and the company plans to add new features and functionality to Aeris’ products. The company seems to be moving away from the household robotics it became famous for.

Honorable mentions

In April, Brooks Automation acquired Precise Automation for $70 million. Woven Plant Holdings, a Toyota subsidiary, acquired Lyft’s self driving unit, Level 5, for $550 million. In August, John Deere acquired Bear Flag Robotics for $250 million.

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