Humatics Wants to Revolutionize Automation

The microlocation company discusses its recent acquisition of 5D Robotics and Time Domain as well as its plans to improve industrial AI, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles. Humatics’ goal is to revolutionize how people and machines locate, navigate, and collaborate.

People and businesses increasingly rely on navigation, mapping, and location — for everything from hailing a ride to constructing buildings. But GPS technology still only provides precision down to the size of a house or half a city block in some cases. And it doesn’t work indoors. Moreover, nearly all human and robotic work happens within an area much smaller than that, where GPS does not provide the accuracy needed.

Humatics is changing that reality by creating a world where the spaces we occupy every day — offices, parking garages, complex built environments — have precise, secure positioning widely available. Their microlocation precision enables machines to accomodate people, rather than the other way around.

Humatics, a company in the Alumni Ventures Group (AVG) investment portfolio, is constantly innovating. So we caught up with company representatives about their recent acquisition of 5D Robotics and Time Domain and learned how it has prepared them for the future in automation.

How did the acquisition come about?

We have known the teams at Time Domain and 5D for many years and admired their work. They clearly shared our vision of autonomous systems doing useful work in deep connection to the human world, and their technology is extremely compatible with our systems, making this an ideal pairing. We’re eagerly looking forward to working as one team to see where we can take our vision from here.

What is the larger vision with the acquisition?

We’re combining the best of two microlocation systems. Humatics already provides millimeter-scale positioning in industrial environments like factory work cells. Time Domain leads the world in accurate microlocation out to 500 meters of range (with a comprehensive patent portfolio). Together we’ll offer accuracy for myriad microlocation applications.

Humatics’ Spatial Intelligence Platform will provide microlocation positioning at everything below the GPS scale, indoors and out, in all weather and lighting environments. This sets Humatics in a position to leap from the factory floor into the world of mobility and smart cities.

What excites you most about the new markets?

The future uses of our technology in the areas of driverless vehicles and smart cities are vast. Imagine when a smart city can talk directly to a driverless car’s control system in the precise digital language it understands. With Humatics microlocation, driverless cars can find their way with centimeter precision regardless of snow, ice, dust on the sensors or bad cell phone data. They can rely on a secure, ground-based backup to GPS, which is notoriously unreliable in urban environments.

A huge new variety of autonomous vehicles — from drones to air taxis — can navigate human environments like cities, factories, and construction sites. And they are capable of far more than collision avoidance — they can do useful work reliably and on a big scale. It’s easy to see why we’re excited about our future direction.

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