Heartland Robotics Confirms $7M Funding Round; Charles River Ventures in Lead Role

9/8/09Follow @wroush

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use in manufacturing,” Sobalvaro says. “It’s based on the work that has come out of Rod’s lab in past years and on the vision that he has brought to robotics that hasn’t been able to be applied to indusrial robotics until just now.”

Brooks is the former director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and was a co-founder of Bedford, MA-based iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT). He is best known for his pioneering work on behavior-based robotics—equipping robots to navigate and react to their environments based largely on sensor input rather than on elaborate internal models.

I spoke this morning with CRV’s Yellurkar, who has joined Heartland’s board, and asked him why the firm wanted to invest. “There are two different parts,” he says. “One of them is Rod and his team—it’s a team with deep experience in robotic systems. The second reason is that the technology has the potential of changing manufacturing economics, and is therefore a very large idea with potentially very broad applicability and a large market opportunity. We think the underlying idea of fundamentally altering manufacturing economics is very powerful.”

Sobalvarro told Xconomy last month that the new funding has allowed the company, which is based in Cambridge’s Central Square, to hire a raft of experienced engineers to move the company’s robots toward testing and deployment.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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