Lawn mowing robot developer Novabot secures pre-Series A funding

Mowing robots, despite being a niche segment, have become a magnet for established firms and startups across the world, as households in Western countries are in search of reliable robotic mowers to automate the task and keeping their yards clean and tidy.

Novabot (来飞智能), an AI-driven robotic mower startup, has close a pre-Series A round of funding from a select few US and Chinese investors for an undisclosed amount of money, a VC/PE-focused media outlet PEDaily reported today.

This round has brought the sums raised so far by the company to top US$10 million.

Founded in 2020 by a group of University of Pennsylvania alumni, Novabot seeks to use the new proceeds to iterate its products, step up market expansion and bolster user service.

The ultimate goal is to speed up the commercialization of mowing robots.

Mowing robots, despite being a niche segment, have become a magnet for established firms and startups across the world, as households in Western countries are in search of reliable robotic mowers to automate the task and keeping their yards clean and tidy.

Therefore, Novabot is certain to face rivals big and small such as Gardena, Ecovacs (科沃斯), Yarbo (汉阳科技), Changyao (长曜创新) and more.

Novabot, an eponymous core product developed by the firm, is equipped with AI and visual sensing technologies as well as multi-sensory positioning.

It automatically identifies objects and maps the surroundings, and frees the user from laying down navigation rails or cables themselves.

Photo courtesy of Novabot

Armed with real self-initiated route planning capabilities, Novabot can be applied in scenarios like private lawn, community greenery, and golf course.

According to the website of Novabot, its technologies stand out in three aspects.

Compared to other robotic mowers, where they tend to get lost under thick canopies of bushes or shrubs, Novabot is said to be able to navigate lawns with a dense overgrowth of vegetation.

This is because the gadget comes with “unique” visual perception algorithms taken right out of the prestigious GRASP robotic lab at UPenn.

Pushing the boundary

Novabot also claims that its robots are applicable in lawns with a complex shape. This makes them a fit in Western countries, where private lawns come in various sizes and do not often border each other.

It’s also possible to choose a mode of self-dispatch for the robots to operate autonomously across lawns with no clear borderlines.

In addition, the mowers offer an added layer of safety since they are able to detect pets and wild animals moving at a low height, traditionally a blind spot for robotic mowers.

Novabot owes this strength to anti-resistant sensor and VSLAM algorithms.

“For hard tech entrepreneurship, starting with an eye to tackle a pain point and perfect product experience is vital,” said Dr. Liu Xin, founding partner of MAX Innovation Capital, a lead back of the pre-Series A financing of Novabot. “We’re glad to see after three years of intensive work, Novabot has redefined AI perception-powered mowing robot, targeting a market valued at hundreds of billions of US dollars and achieving a business closed loop.”

Moving forward, Novabot plans to build itself into a platform for automated yard products of various kinds, covering outdoor scenarios like farming, forestry, marsh and garden, according to a corporate statement.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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