The brain is such complex organ that we are not even close to fully understanding how it works and regulates the rest of the body. Current AI development is focused on perhaps the easiest of brain functions: learning, communication, memory, and sensing.

However, the study of the role of the cerebellum, the part of your brain that controls and regulates voluntary movement, has yet to attract its due attention from the market, according to Lin Ling, chief strategy officer of Slamtec.

“SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) is a sub-branch of AI. While AI is playing the role for cerebrum and radar for human vision, SLAM is fulfilling the task of the cerebellum, enabling robots to move fluidly, stay balanced, and be proprioceptive,” he said.

Born out of maker group RoboPeak, Slamtec was bootstrapped by a group of passionate engineers who first built the project as a pastime.

“Back in 2009 when RoboPeak was established, the cost for laser radar models is too high for maker teams like us,” said Lin.

By tolerating some margin of error, the team managed to lower the cost of their RPLIDAR system greatly. With a ready-to-go prototype and market potential, RoboPeak team founded Slamtec in 2013, ready to turn their passion into a business.

Slamtec, as its name suggests, is a startup focused on providing affordable and all-in-one robot autonomous localization and navigation solutions. In addition to low-cost RPLIDAR, the company is gradually shifting its focus to SLAM solution based on LIDAR technology and Zeus robot platform.

“RPLIDAR is just a start point for our vision in solving the mobility problem of robots. In real application scenario, we would face more complicated situations. As the robots move around, the surrounding environment also changes. That’s why we moves to SLAM, an algorithm that enables a robot to map an unknown environment while at the same time tracking its location,” Lin added.

The company’s SLAMWARE is a highly integrated modular autonomous robot localization and navigation solution with SLAM technology based on RPLIDAR and the matched path planning capability.

Slamtec shows Zeus at CES 2017

Robot vacuum cleaners are, so far, the most popular robot appliance. However, Slamtec is exploring areas outside vacuum cleaners as well.

“One of the reasons for the rise of robot vacuum cleaners as a consumer electronics is that it is something people are accustomed to and can use in their daily lives. Adoption of new technologies goes through the same path from enterprise- to customer-facing services,” according to Lin. He points out that robots may find their first enterprise boom in security and finance.

Slamtec’s general purpose robot platform Zeus is built to tap this trend. With a built-in enhanced SLAMWARE autonomous localization and navigation system, Zeus can work with different over-the-top applications for mobile advertising, video meeting, accompanying and package delivery.

Along with the AI boom, the robotic industry is gaining momentum in China and around the world. “But the market is rising at a speed slower than we expected,” said Lin. “As one of the earliest Chinese teams in this arena, we expect 2017 and 2018 to record the real boom of this sector.”

Over the past four years, Slamtec has grown from five founding members to a team with over 90 staffs, looking to raise B round financing later this year.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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