You want to stay on the cutting edge of the tech industry and be primed for your career to zoom along an upward trajectory into the future, right? And the future belongs to robots and those who program them.
Why wait for the future? Functioning robots are already among us. They are working in four key areas that include street delivery, inside delivery, security and medical surgery. All these types of robots are being produced here and now in the U.S. by companies exclusively focused on their unique robot. And each of these types of robots already has a proven track record. They are at work in the public eye. No fear of failed prototypes or a company that will go down in flames. These companies are well-oiled machines whose machines happen to be robots.
Savioke’s Savvy Relay Robots Are Today’s New Bellhops and Mail Clerks
Darn. You left your phone in the 5th floor conference room. No problem if your company has one of Savioke’s Relay robots. Someone on the 5th floor just needs to pop open the armless robot’s lid, tap where to go into a tablet and within minutes it will roll up to your desk with your phone.
Whether it’s technicians needing a tool for a specific task or a hotel guest asking for an extra blanket, the Relay robot can get it there in a matter of minutes. At FedEx in Collierville, Tennessee, the robots can scoot around and pick up and drop off items within the facility like mail clerks used to, according to Quartz.
Describing the Relay as a rotund trashcan-height robot that can autonomously ferry about 10 pounds of goods around, Quartz reported, “The robot combines a range of technologies to see and navigate the world on its own, including lidar (the laser radar technologies powering the eyes of self-driving cars) and depth-sensing 3D vision cameras (similar to those found in a Microsoft Kinect). The robots can navigate through areas that have been mapped, even if new obstacles, such as chairs that have been moved around, or people get in the way.” Savioke claims that Relays deployed across the U.S. have already completed over 100,000 autonomous deliveries.
Silicon Valley-based Savioke swiftly forged links with major hotel chains including Sheraton, Holiday Inn Express, Embassy Suites, Westin and Hyatt who all saw the Relay’s concierge possibilities. The hotels first had to install a wireless system in their elevators so the Relays could open the doors and select floors. Now they rent Relay robots from Savioke for $2000 a month per robot.
Looking beyond the recent incursion into FedEx, Savioke’s ambitions are global. They envision Relays in every office, apartment complex, hospital, and warehouse in the world. Maybe you can help them realize that vision.
- Mechanical Engineer
- VP of Engineering
- DevOps Engineer
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Reliability Test Engineer
Mall Cop Turns Robo Cop Thanks to Knightscope
The large egg-shaped thing on wheels at the Stanford Shopping Center seems like the punchline to a joke about what happens when you cross a mall cop with a robo cop. But this five-foot tall robot isn’t a cop and it’s not armed or dangerous. It’s essentially a roving security camera and its purpose is simply to provide human security guards with extra eyes and ears. And it’s no joke.
This robot’s origins are steeped in tragedy, the Guardian reported. The concept of the robot security guard emerged out of Sandy Hook, the December 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Stacy Dean Stephens, a former Dallas police officer on the board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), learned at a board meeting that if the police had reached the scene just 60 seconds earlier they could have saved at least 12 more lives than they were able to.
“That was a problem we felt was definitely worth solving,” he told the Guardian. Stephens decided that providing better surveillance might help. He co-founded Knightscope, the company that now leases the robots to enhance security in public places. The robots are equipped with high-definition infra-red cameras; microphones that allow the robot to either interact with people or listen for sounds such as breaking glass, and even detection systems that can intercept the pings of mobile phone devices, and license-plate reading software that can process 300 license plates per minute. It can patrol parking lots and be on the alert for the license plate of a disgruntled former employee, for example.
The intent is not to replace security personnel but to give them increased capabilities, the company says. However, looking at the numbers, the robot rents for $7 an hour versus $90 an hour for an off-duty policeman and $25 for a security guard to protect a property. It would be tempting for a struggling retail mall to cut back on human security and rely more on the roving robo mall cops.
To create the robots, the company adapted self-driving car technology and used a first-mover advantage to get their sensor-packed robots into the security market, Knightscope CEO William Li recently told CNBC. He also said that the robots are now on 24/7 patrol in a dozen locations across California, spanning malls, corporate campuses including Microsoft’s, hospitals, and stadiums. Knightscope has plans to soon expand into airports, product distribution centers, solar farms, wind farms, and oil fields.
If you like working in robotics, autonomous technology, sensors and predictive analytics – and fighting crime, Knightscope might be the right fit for you.
- Audio Software Engineer
- Software Engineer
- NOC Engineer
- Computer Vision Engineer
- Deployment Engineer
- Robotics Engineer (2 positions)
The Doctor Robot Is Now Ready for You
Those giant robot spiders were always up to no good in old science fiction movies. But rest assured, the new giant robot spiders made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, are a force for good not evil. They are cutting edge multi-armed surgical robots who are revolutionizing surgery.
A human surgeon, however, still runs the show. Seated close by at a console, the surgeon peers into a magnified lens at a high def image of the patient and places his or her hands into attached rubber mitts to manipulate the robot’s pincers via remote.
Why is this better? The robot, named Da Vinci for Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic multi-armed man, improves on human hands by eliminating any tremor and the magnification improves the surgeon’s view of the procedure. This allows surgeons to perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision. That means less blood loss, less pain, less scarring, less need for medication and a much faster healing process and often better outcome for the patient.
Featured on Grey’s Anatomy, the FDA-approved Da Vinci surgical robots can remove kidney tumors the size of a pencil eraser. Hysterectomy patients can be discharged the same day or the next day.
A Da Vinci robot surgery system costs an average of $1.4 million. About 1,500 of them are in operating rooms around the world.
“Every 60 seconds, somewhere in the world, a surgeon uses a da Vinci Surgical System to bring a minimally invasive surgical option to a patient. For 20-plus years, we’ve been innovating the way forward,” the company’s website states.
Currently Intuitive Surgical has 38 open engineering positions. Although the company has offices around the U.S., the engineers all work out of the Sunnyvale headquarters. Paysa data shows the pay range for engineers at Intuitive Surgical range from $63,807 total salary to $136,577 depending on the level of the job.
The four most recent engineering jobs posted include:
- Lead Industrial Engineer
- Senior Manufacturing Engineer
- Software Engineer in System Test
- External Applications Senior Software Engineer
Food Delivery Robots on a Roll with Starship Technologies
Why did the cooler on wheels cross the road? To deliver pizza on the other side. And that was not just a cooler on wheels. That was a Starship Technologies delivery robot.
Founded in 2014, Starship Technologies is an Estonian company that was started by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. In December 2016, the company opened an office in Redwood City, California.
Starship announced in January, Recode reported, that the company had raised $17.2 million in a funding round.
The city of San Francisco is currently considering legislation to ban the six-wheeled 40-pound robots from it sidewalks. But other states and municipalities are welcoming the delivery robots as long as they follow some ground rules and keep a human somewhere in charge. The robots travel at the pedestrian speed of four miles per hour.
Domino’s Pizza rolled out a pilot program in March using Starship’s robots in Hamburg, Germany. In Washington D.C., Starship robots are trundling food around for delivery services like Doordash and Postmates.
“With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” said Domino’s CEO Don Meij said.
You may wonder why someone wouldn’t just grab the robot, pop open the lid and snag the pepperoni pizza or chicken vindaloo. That’s because they can’t. The robot’s carrying compartment is locked throughout its journey and can be opened only by the recipient. Its location is tracked via app, so the eatery and you know exactly where it is and when it will arrive.
Although salary data is not available for Starship and some of its open engineering positions may be overseas, its website specifies that a current position for a robot handler is based in Redwood City.
Other open positions include:
- Senior Site Reliability Engine
- Senior Software Engineer, Computer Vision & Perception Team
- Senior Frontend Developer
- Senior Backend Developer
Working with Robots – A Path to the Future
Some fight crime, some save lives and some deliver pizza or room service. But what they all have in common is that they are robots who depend on human engineers for optimal functioning. Maybe one of them could be you.
The college most represented in the backgrounds of current tech employees is Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, which is known for its strong robotics program. Other colleges represented in their workforces include Silicon Valley area schools Santa Clara University and San Jose State University as well as Florida’s University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University. Savioke, Knightscope and Intuitive Surgical have recruited tech talent from the Department of Energy, Robert Bosch, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Mercedes Benz North American and many other companies.