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LG Expands Investments in Robotics

KOREA and UNITED STATES – LG Electronics, Inc. has been beefing up its investments in robotics and has already totaled to US$90 million in total in the first 12 months of its investment initiative. The company's recent investment in U.S.-based robotics company, Bossa Nova Robotics, marked the company's first overseas investment in a robotics partner overseas following a number of deals with Korean startups over the past year. Bossa Nova Robotics is a provider of real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry which helps run large-scale retail stores efficiently by automating collection and analysis of on-shelf inventory data. Walmart has been testing Bossa Nova's shelf-scanning robots in a number of stores since last year.

LG Cloi concept robots
LG Cloi concept robots

The funding of Bossa Nova follows LG's investments in four other Korea-based robotics companies, namely Acryl Inc., SG ROBOTICS, Robotis, and Robostar. Acryl is a seven-year-old cognitive computing company providing integrated artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can recognize human emotions and meanings from text, speech and image.

SG ROBOTICS develops wearable robots to assist people with mobility challenges while Robotis specializes in robotic solutions and educational robots. Meanwhile, Robostar is a manufacturer of industry robots. Its mission is to be a one-stop solution provider for companies involved in industries such as mobile, display, automobile and semiconductor.

These investments complement LG's own efforts to bring service robots to market in the very near future to become a core growth engine for the company. LG has already deployed a number of robots in Korea for trial service, with its Guide Robot and Cleaning Robot dispatched to assist travelers at South Korea's largest airport during the winter games in PyeongChang.

Earlier this year at CES, LG introduced three new CLOi concept robots specifically developed for commercial use in high-traffic locations such as hotels and supermarkets. LG's CLOi robots are being developed in parallel to ThinQ products, LG's AI brand for consumer electronics and home appliances.

"Robotics, as a key component of our ThinQ AI strategy, is a critical future growth opportunity for LG," said Kim Sungwook, Vice President of the Global Open Innovation division at LG Electronics. "LG is committed to expanding its robotics capabilities through investments in innovative partners as well as intense R and D efforts from within."