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Jacobi Robotics shortens robot programming cycle in partnership with Formic

A new startup has emerged from stealth mode aiming to accelerate and simplify the application of robotics through artificial intelligence software. Jacobi Robotics, based in Berkeley, California, has developed a motion planning platform that enables engineers to configure robot deployments more quickly and productively.

The core innovation lies in generative software that leverages AI to automate complex programming of robotic motions. This builds on groundbreaking research at institutions like UC Berkeley and CMU in developing optimized and collision-free paths tailored to specific tasks. Jacobi Robotics claims its tools can slash deployment timelines from weeks to days by streamlining motion planning.

The company's first target is palletizing and packing applications, where repetitive lifting and stacking remain manually intensive and injury-prone. Jacobi's robot-agnostic software aims to boost palletizing productivity by 20% across various hardware platforms through smarter motion control. This has appealed to Formic Technologies, a leading robot-as-a-service provider for palletization, which has partnered with Jacobi to embed its software and ease deployments.

Jacobi's focus aligns with larger industry trends toward more flexible automation through better integration of hardware and software. Vendors like FANUC and ABB have opened up APIs to enable tighter coordination between robotics systems and the emerging class of AI-based middleware. Generative programming that semi-autonomously handles lower-level coding tasks is part of that evolution.

The partnership with Formic also underscores the potential of cloud robotics and robotics-as-a-service for proliferation of smarter automation. Formic's remotely managed model aims to accelerate palletizer adoption among manufacturers and warehouses facing acute labor shortages. Embedding Jacobi's motion software creates a stack of ease-of-use capabilities for rapid rollout.

In the bigger picture, solutions like Jacobi's reflect maturing capabilities in AI-enabled robotics programming. As the next wave of smart robot platforms come online, innovations that collapse deployment timelines will be key to capitalizing on their potential speed and dexterity advances. The race is on to make robots faster both computationally and in real-world job site commissioning.

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