Demystifying China’s robotics industry, Motional talks robotaxis, TRI previews kitchen robot

Welcome to Episode 18 of The Robot Report Podcast, which brings conversations with robotics innovators straight to you. Join us every week for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.

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This week we’re joined by Georg Stieler, managing director, Asia, at Stieler Technology and Marketing Consultants. Georg gives us the inside scoop about China’s robotics industry, diving into some common misconceptions about China as a robotics producer. Georg discusses how China is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, why mobile robots for e-commerce have reached a saturation point in China, navigating on-going trade tensions between the US and China and much more.

We also talk to Laura Major, the chief technology officer at Motional, the autonomous driving joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv. Despite other autonomous vehicle companies putting more emphasis on autonomous trucking and logistics applications, Motional remains completely committed to robotaxis.

We talk to Laura about the challenges of developing robotaxis, how Motional’s robotaxi service in Las Vegas, which has given more than 100,000 rides to paying consumers on the Vegas Strip, is going, and when Motional’s service will be commercially available to fleet operators.

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We also preview this week’s RoboBusiness Direct discussions that air October 8 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. We will hear from Gatik co-founder and chief engineer Apeksha Kumavat. Gatik is using autonomous vehicles to help solve middle-mile logistics. In this talk, Apeksha will discuss Gatik’s approach to constraining the Operational Design Domain has brought middle mile autonomous delivery to market quickly and effectively by reducing the biggest threat to the autonomous revolution – edge cases.

Eugene and I also discuss the latest headlines, including robotics investments and acquisitions from September, a new ceiling-mounted gantry robot from Toyota Research Institute, and the commercialization of Miso Robotics’ Flippy Robot on a Rail system for restaurants.


This episode of The Robot Report Podcast is brought to you by Fictiv. Fictiv’s Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem is transforming how the next rockets, self driving cars, and life-saving robots are designed, developed and delivered to customers around the world. This transformation is made possible through Fictiv’s technology-backed platform, its partnerships with the highest quality small and large manufacturers around the globe, and its people with deep expertise in hardware and software development.

In the last 6+ years, we’ve manufactured over 10M parts for early stage companies and large enterprises alike, helping them innovate with agility and get to market faster. To learn more, visit Fictiv’s website.


If you would like to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the podcast, or if you have recommendations for future guests or segment ideas, contact Steve or Eugene. For sponsorship opportunities of The Robot Report Podcast, contact Courtney Nagle for more information.

Podcast Links
0-:37: Ad Read
:38-:5:45: Show Intro
5:46-29:47 Conversation with Georg Stieler
29:48-31:38: Fictiv’s Manufacturing Tip of the Week
31:38-36:54: September investments recap
36:55-42:36: TRI’s ceiling-mounted gantry robot
42:37-47:04: Miso Robotics commercializes Flippy kitchen robot
47:05-47:55 RoboBusiness Direct Preview
47:56- 1:17:30: Conversation with Laura Major, CTO, Motional
1:17:311:18:05-Show Outro

Robotics investments recap: September 2020
Toyota Research Institute shows service robot prototypes in virtual open house
Podcast: Hello Robot exits stealth; White Castle turns to robotics
White Castle and Miso Robotics to test Flippy Robot on a Rail in fast food trials

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