Entrepreneur Chien-robot Spot: Intuitive robots wins distribution in France

Chien-robot Spot: Intuitive robots wins distribution in France

Videos of Spot robot dog are a hit on social media. He was seen walking around last year in the heart of the security perimeter of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Ukraine, or in a park in Singapore to enforce social distancing. And we should see Spot in France very soon.

Intuitive Robots, a Nantes start-up founded in 2014, has just signed a robot-dog distribution partnership with Boston Dynamics, its American designer, and now owned by Korean automaker Hyundai.

The first deployments of Spot in France are planned for this year, with very large industrial groups. The robots will be used for inspection missions and detection of anomalies in restricted areas. The public price of this robot-dog far exceeds that of any dog ​​with a pedigree … Spot is sold for 74,500 euros per unit.

Nao, Pepper and Spot

But how did this VSE of seven employees manage to convince the American manufacturer of Spot? French Intuitive Robots is no stranger to the robotics market. Despite its young age, the start-up has a great experience and some great references. “In robotics, we are at the equivalent of the 1970s-1980s of computer science”, confirms Franck Calzada, the co-founder of the start-up.

The first years, Intuitive robots mainly deployed the robots of the Japanese SoftBank Robotics, specializing in humanoid robotics, in Europe and even in the United States. “We have mastered the technology of its Pepper robot, based on the previous model of the Nao robot. Pepper, which has a human form, makes it possible for example to welcome the public in airports or hospitals ”, explains Franck Calzada.

Since 2018, Intuitive Robots has also been working with the Chinese manufacturer Ubtech. In the future, the Nantes-based company wants to distribute the Buddy robot from the French start-up Blue Frog Robotics.

Diversify into industry, less sensitive to the crisis

Spot, the robot dog, is therefore in good hands in France. Its manufacturer favors commercial partners capable of supporting end customers. The mission of Intuitive Robots will be to adapt this versatile robot to the customer’s problems, by modifying or adding technical capacities. “Bringing robots to life” thanks to software development, this is precisely the job of the French start-up. For robots from Japanese Softbank, “Our work also consists in developing conversational artificial intelligences to give shape to vocal assistants”, pécise Franck Calzada.

This distribution partnership was the result of eight months of work. For the entrepreneur, “Technical expertise” of its seven employees and their ” creativity “ on the use of robots, played a role in the conclusion of the partnership. “We showed our references and our ideas on the use of their robot. Respective commitments have also been made regarding its distribution. “

Thanks to Spot, the French company will diversify its activity, so far oriented towards uses in stores, hotels, airports and other places with the public. “Going into the industrial field is more pragmatic in a period of a global pandemic”, recognizes Franck Calzada. This distribution partnership should also allow the start-up to refocus its activity on France and Europe. Intuitive Robots now achieves more than 80% of its turnover internationally.

Finally, Franck Calzada is now thinking about opening up the capital of his company. Operating on equity since its creation, Intuitive Robots should raise funds in the coming months.

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