Pudu Robotics (普渡科技), a leading service robot developer in China, announced today that it had announced a strategic collaboration with SoftBank Robotics, aiming to explore the future of commercial robots together.
In a press release, the Shenzhen-based company said this tie-up will give full play to Pudu’s technological advantages in delivery and cleaning robots, and combine SoftBank Robotics’s know-how in the Japanese market.
The goal is to achieve a win-win outcome for both companies, providing users with a better experience and pushing commercial service robots to scale new heights.
“We are honored to enter into this strategic partnership with SoftBank Robotics. This is a recognition of Pudu’s technologies and products,” said Zhang Tao, founder and CEO of the unicorn. “Pudu will continue to leverage its strengths to tap deeply into industrial scenarios, so as to provide reliable products and outstanding services to all its partners and clients — just as always.”
Fumihide Tomizawa, president and CEO of SoftBank Robotics Group Corp, explained that the company is excited to team up with Pudu, for this allows it to bolster the product supply in Japan’s commercial service robotics.
“The cooperation deepens our commitment to provide cutting-edge robotics, as well as help businesses meet the challenge of labor shortage and enhance overall efficiency,” Tomizawa said.
Crossing the 70,000 mark
A recent study by iyiou, a market intelligence provider, pointed out that Pudu’s shipment worldwide has approached 70,000 units, making it one of the largest service robot producers across the globe.
Pudu’s Zhang is eyeing even more ambitious targets amid the company’s overseas expansion.
“We plan to build two factories in the Yangtze River Delta region (close to Shanghai), and construction is already underway,” Zhang recently told media in an interview at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters.
When the two plants are completed between 2024 and 2025, they are expected to triple Pudu’s annual production capacity.
The startup’s existing factory in Dongguan of southern Guangdong Province, a manufacturing hub, churns out around 50,000 robots a year.
With the two new factories due to become operational in almost a year, the total capacity will increase to 150,000 units.
Spike in overseas orders
According to Zhang, Pudu has utilized its robots in action to gather data that feed back to its algorithms, so as to elevate the accuracy of their motion trails.
He added the company currently has no plans to construct a new plant abroad.
Surging overseas demand is the main driver of productivity increases. Since February this year, Pudu has shipped more than 10,000 robots, with overseas customers accounting for 80% of the buyers.
Pudu’s delivery to Japan to date has totaled 7,500 units.
Its products have been sold to 600 cities in 60 countries and regions spanning Asia, North America and Europe. Orders from Japan, South Korea, the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan represent the bulk of sales.
Statistics released by market research firm AskCI indicate that the global service robot market will grow 33% this year to US$33.7 billion.
China alone is projected to expand 36% year on year to US$10.3 billion this year, almost a third of the global total, the data show.