Round 8
Command Robotics

Democratizing Robotics on Stellar

Budget request:  

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Products & Services

Adaptive Goal Management App (to be rebranded as Command-Central)
Adaptive Goal Managment is an app which is a scalable and hardened control system which will allow our customers to deploy robotic systems faster and more cost-effectively.  It acts as a robot fleet manager with an adaptive goal execution system for robots and drones which are connected to the internet.   The platform will use Stellar blockchain as the real-time financial settlement layer allowing our customers to be incentivized to adopt the technology with innovative progressive payment settling as each job is completed.

Mobile Robotic System
A mobile robotic system hardware platform will be part of the offering to provide a simple and cost-effective solution for those looking for an entry level robotic solution.  Our platform will be open to all types of robots and drones provided they can communicate through html.  This will greatly open the possibility to work with partners to help in a wide array of industries.

Integration, Support & Maintenance Services
Integration of other robotic systems besides the hardware platform offered.
After-sales support of solutions.
Preventitive Maintenance and spare parts.

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Previous Project(s)
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Progress so far

The goal of this project is to complete the MVP to be able to launch a pilot project with a first customer. The key elements of the MVP are integrating the Stellar block-chain with the AGM cloud system and create v2 of the robotic hardware platform.

To get there, we  will use our requested budget of  

• Roadmap step 1: Detailed design of the revenue model, define a compliance checklist & integrate the Stellar blockchain to automate the transactions ($35k USD)• Roadmap step 2: Mechanical design, SLAM upgrade, safety analysis & build v2 of the robotic platform ($15k USD)• Roadmap step 3: Establish a pilot project with local manufacturing company (we have a couple identified) ($10K USD)• Roadmap step 4: Customer gap analysis & roadmap product evolution• Roadmap step 5: Elaborate company marketing & business plan


Problem and Solution

Every 4 years a number of instutions collaborate in the US to update A Roadmap for US Robotics.  As part of this roadmap they outline some of the challenges for adopting technology and robotics in manufacturing which need to be solved in the upcoming years.  Command Robotics tackles some of the key drivers that inhibit all sizes of manufacturers from improving their businesses and productivity through the adoption of robotics.  The Stellar blockchain, will provide a real-time settlement platform which can unlock creative business cases and incentivize the adoption and use of robotics technology to grow manufacturing companies.

Here is an excerpt from the the 2020 Roadmap document outlining the research challenges for the Manufacturing space:

A key factor in the introduction of automation into manufacturing is always cost. The business case has to make sense and the margins / rates in a manufacturing plant are often a challenge. There is thus a need to consider how the cost of installation, operation, and maintenance can be optimized.  

In recent years there has been a push towards a higher degree of customization. As mentioned in Section 2.1 cars are now available in millions of different configurations. As such manufacturing is very much becoming a high-mix / low volume environment. There is a large number of different variations and every item manufactured is different from the previous unit.

In manufacturing safety is always a major objective. The introduction of collaborative robots around 2005 changed the setup of factories. Prior to that there was typically a physical barrier between robots and humans on the factory floor. The new collaborative robot systems allow for a more flexible cooperation between humans and robots. They can exist in the same space and it is possible to dynamically interact through careful design. Today collaborative robots are almost exclusive used for smaller payload tasks. Safety will remain a major focus as the possible set of applications is expanded.

Today there are only about 1 robot for every 50 workers in manufacturing. A challenge to adoption in particular for small and medium sized companies is the time for setup for a new task. There is a need to make the system easy to set up for a new task. The setup time should ideally be shorter than the task time.

Finally, there is a need to make it simple to use automation / robotics for all the users. Today it is often required that operators spend significant time in training to be able to operate and/or do basic teach-in. Ideally the process of use of technology should be effortless.

The solution we are building leverages the reach and flexibility of the Interenet with the AGM (Adaptive Goal Management) is a cloud based robotic fleet management platform, built around an adaptive goal execution system which allows robotics to be applied to enviroments that have a large mix of tasks, very cost-effectively and within reach of anyone with an internet connection.  

Target Market

The manufacturing market is a large user of robotics and automation to increase productivity and scale complex manufacturing operations.  There are a number of factors that are disrupting the manufacturing space leaving owners and operators no choice but to continue to implement tecnology to adapt to the changing market.

As part of the vision of making robotics more accessible is to innovate around the business case and financing of projects.  This project aims to use the Stellar blockchain as an important element to breakdown the barriers for all sizes of manufacturers to easily adopt robotics technology and ensure they maximize their return-on-investment.

Here is an excerpt from the 2020 US Robotics Roadmap describing the importance of robotics and the Manufacturing market.  You can find the full report here:

2.1. Manufacturing
Manufacturing, from handicraft to high tech, is the staged transformation of raw materials into finished goods on a large scale using human-labor, machines, tools, chemical or biological processing on a large scale.

Manufacturing output accounts for some $2 trillion in the United States. It represents about 12% of the GDP10. Every dollar worth of manufacturing goods generates $1.4 in output in other sectors of the economy. The U.S. is second only to China in Manufacturing.

Today, U.S. manufacturing companies face the twin challenges of an aging population and a shortage of skilled workers. As a result, our manufacturing competitiveness is at risk.

Robots keep U.S. manufacturing competitive by allowing them to improve product quality, increase productivity, get products to market faster and lowering the overall costs. As a result, manufacturing jobs are growing as more robots are adopted in the U.S. Since 2010, some 180,000 robots have been shipped to U.S. companies during the same period 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs have been created. At the same time, robots are making the workplace safer by performing dangerous tasks that people should not be doing.

This allows people to do higher value, higher-paying tasks. Because of robotics, U.S. companies are now bringing some manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. According to the Reshoring Institute, about 78,000 jobs have been returned since 2010.

Perhaps more importantly, manufacturing jobs that might have been outsourced to take advantage of low-cost labor are now being performed in the U.S. In addition to growing manufacturing jobs and output, these efforts also help revitalize communities that were hard hit by job losses when U.S. factories were closed.

U.S. competitors recognize that adopting robots is critical to manufacturing success. China, the E.U., Japan and Korea are “all in” on robotics with well-established government-funded programs to ensure they remain leaders in the use and development of robotics technology.

The production-line, a key innovation of the industrial revolution, set the stage for the development of the modern deployments but is in great need of an overhaul to accommodate dramatic paradigm shifts/megatrends in manufacturing: including mass production while permitting customization in lot-sizes-of-one, digitalization (digitally-enabled insight into a traditionally opaque analog world), cloud-manufacturing systems, and need for scaling up production of highly integrated smart intelligent consumer products. Worthy of note, manufacturing operations are increasingly becoming lean with just-in-time supply-chain and logistics operations in order to keep them economically feasible. At the macrolevel autonomous transportation (transportation) promises revolutionary improvements in speed, efficiency, safety and reliability along with concomitant benefits for society and economy. Inasmuch, it is useful to view a manufacturing shop floor from the lens of a “microcosm of a smart city”. Success and productivity depend upon synchronized orchestration of humans and automation which can occur at various spatio-temporal scales. There is a significant need for movement of people and materials between multiple physical locations – in the past, this was
accomplished by high-cost and inflexible fixed-automation (conveyor-belts etc.) with implicit lock-in once selected. Over the past decades, fixed infrastructure deployments (robots in cages) have made way for emerging classes of robots (e.g., mobile manipulators) and human-robot collaboration in shared spaces. In as much, the modern production-floor now offers an interesting sandbox to examine: alternate methods of realizing production (flexible automation) coupled with alternate provisioning of ancillary support between fixed (production-line), flexible (mobile robotic agents) and built infrastructure (WIFI, localization beacons).

Industrial robotics grew in deployments building upon a general-purpose manipulator capable of being reprogrammed flexibly for multiple tasks. While the former aspect is well-exercised, current deployments do not fully exploit the re-programmability (due to a variety of reasons including complexity). Nevertheless, sales for traditional industrial robots has grown at a CAGR of 19% from 2013 to 2019 even just in well-understood manufacturing use-case settings. In 2018, global robot installations increased by 6% to 422,271 units worth USD 16.5 billion bringing the operational stock of robots to about 2.44M units (+15%). With software, peripherals, and systems engineering included, the value is approximately 50 billion USD. For the eighth year in a row, robot installations in the United States reached a new peak level (40,373 units; +22%) but still remains in 3rd place after China and Japan.

Newer paradigms such as collaborative robots - also called cobots - (designed to work together with humans) accounted for less than 14,000 out of more than 422,000 industrial robots installed in 2018. Despite strong media attention of cobots, the number of units installed is still low with a share of 3.24% of annual installation. Their growth rate was slightly higher (23%) as compared to traditional robots for reasons including the lack-of-awareness, change-management and lack of effective technology use-case performance or business ROI evaluations. Nevertheless, there is both considerable excitement and trepidation about the latent potential of next-generation robotics (enable shorter production runs, smaller factories, and higher productivity) to transform production-systems and its ability to power growth around the world13. AI-enhanced robotics (e.g., with better machine vision) with other technological advances (better sensors/compute/actuation), promises to see significantly improved pricing and
performance over the next decade. The “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership” (AMP) recognized robotics as a key-transformative technology that can revolutionize manufacturing and embodied/deployed via the Manufacturing USA institutes. These Manufacturing USA institutes including DMDII and ARM have sought to build out an ecosystem of industry-SMEs-academia-government constituents (~200-400 members) to develop 3-4-year horizon technology roadmaps, updated annually and deploy them
in technology investment strategies. However, due to the focus on higher TRL-levels, the opportunities for cross-pollination and translation of latent unrealized potential of approaches developed in other application spaces are not being fully realized in the manufacturing setting.

Greater national-level coordination is needed to capture the productivity and competitiveness benefits of robotics driven by: (i) Shortage of labor in key high-tech manufacturing sectors; (ii) need to compensate for the deficit in manpower by improving workforce productivity; (iii) gain a technological-multiplier to maintain leadership in a more competitive export market; while (iv) offsetting effects of national-level technology-investment efforts across the globe14. Targeted national-scale investments in translating early-stage R&D efforts in robotics and automation into key manufacturing sectors of national interest -- aerospace, apparel, electronics, machining, and automotive -- would create significant opportunities for productivity gains.

Revenue Model

Our initial plan would have 3 scenarios in which we can generate revenue:

1. Robot-as-a-service: A customer comes to us for both the Robotic solution and the network architecture.  We generate revenue from deploying the robot and the work it completes for the customer.
2. Robot purchase and software-as-a-service:  A customer purchases the robot and leverages our app.  We generate revenue from the use of our cloud based app as they use the robot.
3. Partner/distributor: The partner/distributor can look to offer the robot-as-a-service to the end customer.  We generate revenue from the setup of the robot into the app and the fees for using the app.  The partner/distributor will have the revenue from the robot solution.

Support, spare-parts and services
Additionally there is revenue for supporting the deployed robots, wear items and integrating new brands of robots into the platform.  

This rental model is not widely adopted.  If it does take off there is the possibility to consult with other industries outside of robotics to structure the revenue model to other physical assets.

Market Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged almost every industry and the Mobile Robot Industry has not been immune to the pandemic seeing a slowing of deployment of systems due to plant and warehouse closures, as well as companies holding off on making large capital purchase to conserve cash.  It is believe by many analysts that the long-term effects of the virus will be a net positive for the industry due to many of the growth drivers being accelerated by the situation.  It is forecasted to have 50% growth anually out to 2024.

As listed by a report published by the A3 robotics association, the key drivers promoting growth of the Mobile Robot Industry are:
- Low volume & high-mix manufacturing
- Shorter & faster product cycles
- Need to reduce costs
- Lack of labor
- Rising labor costs
- Need for more flexible manufacturing
- Trend to local manufacturing
- Need to reduce manual/strenuous labor

Threats & Opportunities

The Internet has grown into every corner of our lives and with technologies such as 5G and Starlink maturing new use cases will continue to expand.  This fast and robust connectivity will give more access to the hardened systems and modern software platforms that make up the Internet now.  The opportunity to be at the forefront to help the Manufacturing Industry adopt these technologies coming very quickly.  Data privacy and security is paramount to being able to convince manufacturers to risk this transition.  They must be assured that their facility will not be cut-off to critical processes and information while making their products.  Additionally there is still a lot of uncertainty around technologies such as public blockchains.  There is a risk that governments will make the ability to leverage this technology increasingly complex as they look to control the flow of money.


At the moment Mobile Robotics and Fleet Management Apps are hot.  There are a growing number of established companies and startups coming onto the sceen due to the estimated market growth to come driven by new technologies and the drivers outlined.  An example of an established player in the Mobile Robotics market is Mobile Industrial Robotics (MIR).  They offer customizable industrialized platforms which have been used for many different applications from warehouses to hospital sanitization.  When I first started building the AGM app my vision was to leverage existing technologies such as this.  I quickly realized the price point of these solutions was quite expensive.  As I learned how to simulate the platforms, it became clear with the Open Source software Robot Operating System (ROS) it was not unachievable to offer a simple entry level hardware platform of our own.

An excellent example of a Robotic Fleet Management company is Freedom Robotics.  They offer a cloud-based platform, targeted at the Manufacturing Industry, which allows you to monitor and collect data from a robot or device.  They are a relatively young company and are building out features.  Typically a monthly device subscription goes for around $50-100USD per month but offer free startup trials.  The approach we are taking is job or goal management first, then monitoring.  What differentiates our platform comes from our belief monitoring is only part of the solution.  At the core and what the AGM platform does really well is a scalabe AI based control system.

Marketing & Sales

At this stage of our project we have choosen two target markets to start looking at.  In order of priority they are as follows: 1. manufacturing and 2. medical

The reason Manufacturing is the first priority is because I have been involved in robotics in this field for 20+ years and have established excellent relationships with a wide variety of companies and people.  This will be a place where finding a customer to do a proof of concept will be easier to find and the learning curve of their daily pain and life is low.  For this project there are some guidelines we have for the pilot project.  The customer must be local in the montreal area and we are looking into assembly type operations.  

Into the medical field I have a number of excellent contacts and have consulted in such areas as hospital sterilization.  The regulatory environment is a little more complicated and the hosiptals and long-term care facilities are more dynamic in nature.  We want to establish a pilot project to build a voice of the customer profile and are assuming there will be gaps unique to this area.

Moving forward we hope to establish a customer persona for both areas where we can establish a customer list, geographical plan and identify key partners who we can work with to deliver as we look to build a customer base and support the customers for a long-term relationship.

Resources & Relationships

In the fields we are addressing we do have a number of important relationships which will help us to complete this project.  To build the MVP we have a number of established contacts that we will be leveraging.  The following areas are where we will be able to leverage our exisiting strategic relationships and resources:

- Pilot project in Manufacturing: we have a number of great contacts that will be more than happy to dedicate resources, test and build a case study around this project which we can use to promote what will be the new company and the Stellar ecosystem!
- Pilot project in Medical: we have an excellent relationship with a Spinal surgeon at the University of McGill that will allow us to start a pilot project.  Again feedback and a case study are the goals to promote and build the next phase of our roadmap.
- Engineering resources: we have a number of companies and contacts that we will be leveraging for mechanical engineering, robotics engineering and software

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Michael Muldoon, P.Eng - President
As a graduate of Electrical Engineering, I've been involved in Robotics since 2000 across many manufacturing industries exposing me to many different projects implementing robotics, machine vision and control systems.  From 2016-2018 I had the opportunity to lead a very ambitious project implementing an automation system for an Pratt & Whitney Canada, a aerospace engine manufacturer.  In this project the team I was part of built a control system based upon some AI principles using traditional automation hardware and software.  After implementing the algorithms I realized using modern web technology would allow more people access to the dynamic software giving them the ability solve many more problems that the manufacturing space has used to grow its enormous productivty.  

My blockchain experience started in 2012 when I discovered Bitcoin.  After going down the rabbit hole, I learned about Mt. Gox and the story of how Jed McCaleb built the platform.  I was intrigued about his vision for the crypto industry and the story of his leading of the development of XRP and then XLM.  I've tried both technologies and believe that Stellar is an excellent fit to provide a real-time payment system for the platform which I am building allowing people and organizations to pay for their robotics solution as the jobs they assign are completed.

In addition to these technologies I've learned the open source robotics platform ROS (Robot Operating System).  This is a middleware used to build mobile robots and manipulators.  We are building a MVP mobile platform and manipulator as a pilot project demonstrator to utilizing the tools to solve key problems.

Francesca Tomanelli, P. Eng - Secretary
Francesca Tomanelli, P. Eng.

Francesca’s career began as an electrical engineer in the automotive industry where she gained extensive experience in leading complex state of the art projects and built strong interpersonal and communication skills. Today, working a Product Line Manager, in Defense and Security sector, Francesca is responsible for launching a number of products, their development throughout their life cycle and is a key contributor to marketing, business development and the commercial teams.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Francesca earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, Honors Electrical Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Windsor, Ontario. She is passionate about technology, innovation and is a member of the SCWIFT (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology).