Everyday heroes like firefighters and rescue workers risk their lives to help others during and after natural and industrial disasters.
But no one should ever be exposed to hazardous environments.
This simple and natural statement is the root of rovenso's motivation to build robots that can carry out dangerous tasks when the job needs to get done.
Earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes, fires or explosions create complex environments which are usually cluttered with rubble and are sometimes contaminated with chemicals or radiation. Manipulating or moving heavy material under these conditions is dangerous for humans but also extremely challenging for automated systems.
Tomorrow, fully autonomous robots will handle these hazardous tasks for us.
And rovenso will build them.
Today, we have the technology and the know-how to build remotely operated robots that can easily operate in rough terrain and perform hard work for disaster relief. The same technologies can be deployed in the primary sector or heavy industry to to keep workers out of harm's way.
This is why rovenso is building them. Today. Not tomorrow.
We are a Swiss startup and we aim to make rovenso the world's leading manufacturer of civilian ground mobile robots by 2020.
To provide real value in operation, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) need to be extremely easy to operate yet highly robust and agile.
The simplest solution is always the most robust. With this in mind, we designed a four wheeled rover able to easily overcome vertical steps of more than 150% of its ground clearance without any active control. In other words, ROVéo doesn't need to actively change its shape to overcome obstacles. The extended mobility is purely provided by the mechanical design of its chassis (patent pending at EPFL).
Curious to see it in action? Get in touch with us.
ROVs should be extremely intuitive and easy to operate which will obviate the need for dedicated operators who know more about the robot than the task at hand. This will allow to operate under a high level of stress which is typical in disaster situation relief.
With this in mind, we are working hard on a portable Human-Machine Interface that combines the best of immersive technologies and the best of force feedback devices available out there. LISéo makes piloting ROVéo in complex environment a breeze. The user experience is so cool that we really "wish we could say more".
Sounds promising? Track our latest announcement on social media.
SOSV (Sean O’Sullivan Ventures) is a venture capital fund focused on accelerating over 120 startups every year.
SOSV has funded over 300 startups and their net IRR over the last 20 years puts them in the top 5% of all venture funds worldwide. They are now a global fund with $250M assets under management and a staff of nearly 50 operating world-renowned accelerators in the areas of hardware, software, biology, food, robotics, medical devices, transportation, green energy, and beyond.
HAX the first and largest global hardware accelerator, with over 100 startup investments in 4 years.
Based in Shenzhen, San Francisco and New York in order to leverage the supply chain and factory ecosystem, the program ensures the rapid development of manufacturable products. The majority of the successful applicants to the accelerator come from the United States and Europe. HAX hosts Demo Days in China and Silicon Valley to reach global media and investors. The B2C startups of HAX have successfully run over 50 crowdfunding campaigns raising an average of over $350,000. HAX companies receive up to $25,000 to $100,000 each and access to the SOS Ventures Hardware scaling fund.
EPFL heavily supports rovenso in many ways. First, the Tech Transfer Office helped build the IP, identifying the best patenting strategy and establishing an exclusive license agreement between EPFL and rovenso. Second, EPFL attributed a CHF100k EPFL Innogrant to the project in 2013. Third, the ENABLE program financed an industrial design of the robot based on the EPFL IP and the production of simulation prototypes to prove its feasibility.
This is without taking into account the extremely valuable advice given on both business and technology aspects by the whole team.
Located at the heart of EPFL Innovation Park, La Forge is a co-working space offering a unique environment for starting entrepreneurs related to EPFL to shape their ideas into companies. La Forge also organizes presentations and workshops at regular intervals on key topics for launching entrepreneurs, as well as demo days to give start-ups opportunities to show case their innovations. rovenso is hosted at La Forge since January 2014.
Coppelia Robotics is the company behind V-REP, considered as the Swiss army knife among robot simulators: you will not find a simulator with more functions, features, or more elaborate APIs.
For rovenso, this simulation software is a strategic tool in the development process: it is a rapid prototyping platform allowing to assess the mobility of our rovers in rough terrain and to validate a wide number of components before eventually manufacturing the robot. This speeds up dramatically the development cycle of our solutions, for both the rovers and the user interfaces.
Moreover, Coppelia Robotics and rovenso are tightly collaborating on the development of novel human-machines interfaces.
Force Dimension is a Swiss company that specializes in advanced force-feedback (haptic) technology. Established in 2001, Force Dimension develops and supplies dedicated haptic hardware and software solutions for both commercial and research applications. The company also provides technology integration assistance and technical support to its partners and customers worldwide.
rovenso is partnering with Force Dimension to add real-time haptic capability to LISéo, theLightweight Immersive Control Station, leading to enhanced operator perception of the rover behaviour and remote environment. By making remote driving more intuitive, haptics technology will allow the operator to focus on higher-level tasks.
The startup ecosystem in the Lausanne area is absolutely stunning. As an entrepreneur, you'll find for each stage of your growth a wide panel of coaching services, hosting locations and financial support. Innovaud is the "one-stop shop" to identify and access these tools in the canton of Vaud. Innovaud also organizes networking events targeting specific industries. This creates very valuable bridges between startups, investors, innovative SMEs and big corporations.
Thomas Estier is co-founder and CEO of rovenso. Former researcher in Field and Space Robotics at EPFL and co-founder of BlueBotics in 2001, he has experience in business development, operational and executive management gained at the LNS Group (machine-tool industry). Thomas has also been Vice-President of the Business Angels and Mentoring Club (A3 Angels), deputy vice-president at EPFL and technology transfer officer for the NCCR Robotics. NETS winner 2001 (New Entrepreneur in Tech. & Science; now ventureleaders), Thomas holds an EPFL Innogrant 2013.
Lucian Cucu is co-founder and CTO of rovenso. He holds a Master degree in Microengineering at EPFL, majoring in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. His domain of expertise and strongest interests lie within mechatronics and robotics. In industry, at Hocoma AG, he has worked on the design of novel rehabilitation devices, and while in the Self-organizing Systems Research Lab, at Harvard University, he has designed and built self-assembling mobile robots.
Prof. Dr. Auke Ijspeert is head of the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob) at EPFL and member of the advisory board of rovenso. He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL, and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. He carried out postdocs at IDSIA, EPFL and at the University of Southern California (USC). He's also member of the steering committee of the NCCR Robotics and leads there the grand challenge "rescue robotics". His research interests are at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems, and machine learning.
Prof. Dr. Jonas Buchly leads the Agile and Dexterous Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich and is member of the advisory board of rovenso. He holds a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from ETHZ and a PhD from EPFL. He has been a Post-Doc at the Computational Learning and Motor Control Lab at USC, where he was the team leader of the USC Team for the DARPA Learning Locomotion challenge. From 2010-12 he was a team leader at the Advanced Robotics Department of IIT in Genoa. Jonas Buchli has received a Prospective and an Advanced Researcher Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). In 2012 he received a SNF Professorship Award.
Dr. Nicola Tomatis, CEO of BlueBotics, is member of the advisory board of rovenso. He is a recognized leader and authority in mobile robotics. Nicola received the IEEE Early Career Award in Robotics and Automation (2008), he has been listed in the 300 most influential persons of Switzerland (2010 and 2012), and he seats in the Executive Board of the euRobotics aisbl association as well as in the Industrial Activity Board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation society (IEEE RAS IAB).