Formant, a robot fleet management software company, has acquired Formation, a Pittsburgh robot teleoperation startup. The California company founded by ex-Google employees will integrate the startup’s solution to enable customers to remotely control their robots through its browser-based, cloud-enabled robot fleet management system.
Formation will retain its office, giving Formant a presence in both San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
According to Formant CEO Jeff Linnell, adding teleoperation to Formant’s offerings will create an end-to-end solution that RaaS (robots as a service) companies can leverage to scale their fleets, enabling them to easily manage thousands of robots.
“We can be there from day one, when a company creates its first robot, all the way to when it has 100,000 robots,” said Linnell, who was previously the director of Robotics at X, Google’s ‘Moonshot Factory’. “Many early-stage robotics companies struggle to get past having 10 engineers for every robot — our mission is to flip that ratio by allowing one person to manage many robots. Formation’s teleoperation technology will be key to making that happen.”
Formation, founded in 2018 by a small Pittsburgh team, was driven by the growing trend of robotics companies optimizing for semi-autonomy.
“What you see in the market is that most service companies rely on human intervention to some extent — especially in unstructured environments,” Formation co-founder and CEO James Turnshek said, in a statement. “They need the ability to control every aspect of their robots remotely in real-time in order to make absolutely sure things keep moving and that they’re delivering high quality of service.”