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Electric Sheep named startup of the year

In a sign of the rising prominence of robotics and AI in transforming traditional industries, Electric Sheep - a company deploying autonomous robots and machine learning to revolutionize outdoor maintenance - has been named 2024 Startup of the Year by the prestigious RBR50 Robotics Innovation Awards.

The San Francisco-based startup is pursuing an ambitious vision: creating the first large-scale outdoor services company powered by cutting-edge artificial intelligence and robotics. By acquiring traditional landscaping providers and integrating proprietary AI software and robots, Electric Sheep aims to bring long-overdue technological disruption to the $1 trillion global market for outdoor infrastructure maintenance.

"We are honored to receive this award from WTWH Media's Robotics Group," said Nag Murty, co-founder and CEO of Electric Sheep. "Our dedicated team is passionate about creating the most advanced robotics that can truly change an industry that has been ripe for innovation."



A New AI-Driven Business Model
What sets Electric Sheep apart is its novel vertically-integrated business model that melds AI, robotics, and acquisition of existing landscaping companies under one unified technology platform.

By first buying out traditional service providers and their operational data, Electric Sheep creates a real-world "reinforcement learning factory" to continuously refine its machine learning models on enormous datasets of outdoor work scenarios. Those AI models then coordinate fleets of the company's autonomous robots to carry out physical landscaping tasks with increasing efficiency.

"We are doing things differently than other robotic companies by using AI and ML at a higher level for localization and high-level control," Murty explained. "We are scaling physical agents across the country to care for our outdoor spaces."

Electric Sheep currently has robots deployed at hundreds of customer sites running daily and steadily improving their AI "world models" through repeated real-world experience. The company's flagship robot, Verdie, is a fully-autonomous lawn edging and leaf-blowing system that essentially teaches itself through repetition.

"Verdie is powered by Electric Sheep's AI agent, ES1 - our way to enable an outdoor autonomous system to operate in any setting with zero teaching," said Murty. "Using recent advances in generative AI, ES1 is a learned world model that enables reasoning and planning for robots like Verdie."


Toward a Sustainable Outdoor Workforce
In addition to the obvious labor savings over human crews, Electric Sheep touts its robotic landscaping as a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly solution. The company's electric autonomous robots eliminate emissions from gas-powered equipment and reduce landscape workers' exposure to noise, exhaust, and injury risks.

By combining robotics, AI, and a pioneering business model of vertical integration, Electric Sheep encapsulates the RBR50 award's mission to recognize trailblazing innovators. As the outdoor maintenance industry begins its own long-awaited digital transformation, Electric Sheep is positioned at the vanguard.

"The incredible work of this year's RBR50 winners represents the cutting edge of robotics and raises the bar for the industry," said Steve Crowe, Executive Editor of Robotics at WTWH Media. "We look forward to celebrating all of the innovators at the inaugural RBR50 Gala."

The awards ceremony and conference will be held on May 1-2 in Boston, where Electric Sheep will exhibit its latest robots and AI technologies driving a robotic lawncare revolution. As Murty put it: "We are scaling physical agents across the country to care for our outdoor spaces" - thanks to the powerful combination of autonomy and artificial intelligence.

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