Cassie, a biped robot, can navigate uneven ground and recover from a stumble. An employee riding along could do it, or maybe a drone.

But Agility Robotics thinks it has a better way — Cassie. Named after the ostrich-like Cassowary bird of New Guinea, Cassie is a biped robot that actively balances like humans, is capable of navigating uneven ground and can recover from a stumble, said Chief Executive Damion Shelton.

“If your UPS truck is self-driving, then your driver is not a driver. They are a rider to run back and forth to the door,” he said.

“So at that point the commercial demand (for Cassie) becomes pretty extreme because there is always pressure to automate when you can.” Shelton brought Cassie to Sony Electronics’ San Diego campus recently for a showcase of companies recently backed by the Sony Innovation Fund — a relatively new, $100 million corporate venture vehicle from the Japanese consumer electronics giant. Launched in 2016, the Innovation Fund targets early-stage companies in robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, video, music, entertainment and other technologies.

It has invested in around 25 companies in the U.S., Japan and Europe so far. The average investment is a few million in each company. Read more from…

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