AsiaIndustrial NetNews: Owning a mobile phone of your own and connecting thousands of worlds is no longer a dream.
In the next era, have one of your ownRobotAccompanying entertainment is no longer an imagination for Ubisoft.
“I believe that no matter which IP product, as long as he wants to be a humanoid Robot, he will find Ubisoft in the global search. From the perspective of mass production, scale and stability, there is no company in the world that can currently make the same product as us.” Zhou Jian, CEO of UBTECH, said confidently.
Ubisoft Robot, which once became popular in the Spring Festival Evening, has launched several humanoid Robot products, and the total shipment volume has exceeded 300,000 units. Since its establishment in 2012, UBTECH has successively launched the humanoid robot Alpha 1, the platform-level intelligent robot Alpha 2 and the Jimu robot for the STEAM education market. The company also launched Lynx, a humanoid robot embedded with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, and a commercial service robot, Cruzr, at CES this year, which have formed a relatively complete product line.
The reason why Zhou Jian is so confident actually comes from the real consumer-oriented and mass-produced humanoid robot system he established, the most important of which is the servo steering gear. It is understood that the research and development of UBTECH’s servo steering gear has lasted four years, and currently has a production capacity of tens of millions. At the same time, it is sufficiently commercialized in terms of cost and stability. Behind the servo steering gear, the real advantage of UBTECH is that it is a rare consumer-oriented market in the world, and at this stage it is capable of mass-producing humanoid robots.
With a valuation of $1 billion in Series B financing, UBTECH quickly entered the ranks of unicorns. At present, UBTECH has nearly 5,000 retail outlets and experience stores around the world, cooperates with giants such as Apple, Amazon and Best Buy, and is building offline flagship stores to enhance user consumption experience.
However, the maturity of humanoid robots is far from easy. In addition to the strong hardware manufacturing and driving technology capabilities, it is the immaturity of artificial intelligence technology.
Sci-fi blockbusters bring us a lot of imagination. Everyone hopes to have a robot of their own, which can move as nimble as a human being, and think and communicate like a human brain. Zhou Jian broke through the first step, but has not broken through the second step.
“”As a start-up company, we face some problems, we have speech recognition (provided by the shareholder iFlytek), machine vision (introduced computer vision expert Dr. Tao Dacheng) and so on. However, a lot of content, a lot of technology (semantic understanding, etc.) cannot be done by UBTECH, which is why we have been financing. ” Zhou Jian said.
But capital blood transfusion alone cannot fundamentally solve the problem. According to Zhou Jian’s theory, UBTECH adopts the method of “COO raising CTO”, supporting itself through sales and investing half of its revenue into technology research and development. Zhou Jian said that UBTECH will use robots as a carrier to build an artificial intelligence technology platform, and launch a robot operating system and a human-like home service robot developed for commercialization within three years.
The upsurge of artificial intelligence has given the public countless expectations, but the reality tells you that this is only the “early stage”.
“I have always believed that China’s artificial intelligence, including robot entrepreneurship, is a myth. I have always believed that 80%, 90% will die.” Zhou Jian said bluntly.
In Zhou Jian’s view, the most important thing for artificial intelligence at present is that it needs to be truly implemented, and it cannot be done just for the sake of the wind. Now many companies are doing pseudo-demand, or products in the transition period.
“In the short term, it will take about ten years for a human-like humanoid robot; in the long run, it will take three to fifty years for a real humanoid robot to be truly commercialized.” Zhou Jian said.
The following is based on Zhou Jian’s Q&A record, and NetEase Intelligence has made a deletion that does not change the original intention:
Promote robots into mass production mode, this year’s target sales of 1.5 billion yuan
Q: Alpha is mainly an entertainment companion robot. The recently launched Alpha 2 is priced at nearly 20,000 yuan, which is very different from the first-generation price of 3,999 yuan. Why?
Zhou Jian: The positioning of Alpha2 is different from that of Alpha1. Alpha1 simply has 16 free servo servos for programming, which is similar to toys and education, but the positioning of Alpha2, we hope to have an intelligent The brain, that’s why we took a whole different design direction than the Alpha1.
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As for the price, this is a business strategy of our company, but there will be some adjustments in our price, because Alpha2 is only in China, and all our overseas versions will be changed to Lynx, which is to cooperate with Amazon. But Alpha2, if you know the history of Ubisoft, you know Alpha2 Delete for a long time, but this year is the year when Alpha2 really entered the family.
Alpha robot generation product
Q: UBTECH recently launched the Cruzr robot, which is mainly for commercial use. What are your plans for the To B market? How does it help this year’s sales target of 1.5 billion?
Zhou Jian: Cruzr has received hundreds of millions of orders. This order is real. This order comes from various industries, including airports, banks, brokerages, and 4S stores. Our order of 5,000 units will probably be mass-produced by the end of May and delivered in early June and July. The goal of this year’s Cruzr is 10,000 units. 10,000 units, our sales are like hundreds of millions.
In addition, in addition to our big order in April and May, you will see another action of ours. We will cut into security monitoring. You can see that many of our cameras are in high places. From face recognition, it is actually There are some defects, it needs to be captured from another angle, so we will have a relatively large action in security monitoring next.
UBTECH’s recently launched commercial robot Cruzr
Q: You said that Ubisoft needs to walk on two legs, one leg is commercialized, and the other is technology. What are the commercialization directions of Ubiquit?
Zhou Jian: The layout of commercialization, STEAM education, itself is an entry point for robots to cut into life, such as education, entertainment, and companionship. These things are easy for everyone to understand. Many robot startups in China are based on education, entertainment and companionship.
In fact, I was in a meeting last night. We formed a great strategic cooperation with the world’s largest content licensor, including IP. Next, you can see our IP products, not just buying simple dolls. At the same time, dialogue and interaction, including question and answer, and robots that can be programmed, we are all doing, and it is estimated that two more will be launched this year.
There will be 6-8 Jimu robots on the Apple Store in the future, and I don’t want robot education to become a tool for college entrance examinations
Q: UBTECH’s Jimu robot entered the Apple retail store, how did this cooperation come about? What is the current sales situation?
Zhou Jian: Our cooperation with Apple is mainly on STEAM education. STEAM education, as we all know, is to really cultivate young people’s hands-on ability, including young people’s logical thinking programming ability, including some cultivation of physical and mathematical ability. I am very optimistic about the direction of STEAM, including the country’s increasing emphasis on STEAM education.
Apple is very optimistic about this field. Apple has carried out research on STEAM education very early. Apple has actually selected candidates for STEAM education around the world. In the end, the vice president of Apple came to our team to talk about this matter. It happened last October that we The Jimu robot was launched. When they demonstrated in their Apple office, they felt that this was the product they really wanted, a real robot product that could move and program servo servos, and was more in line with such a product that was promoted to and outside the school. Therefore, Apple cooperated with us from APP to final software and hardware, and launched our first product. In the future, 6-8 robot products will be sold in hundreds of Apple retail stores around the world.
In addition, we introduced Howard, and we hope to truly form a more authoritative STEAM education standard in the world. What is STEAM, and where are the STEAM standards? How to achieve the goals and requirements of STEAM education?
UBTECH’s Jimu robot
Q: Now many start-up companies are already in the robot education market, and many of them are already running various classes or collaborating with some schools. What do you think of this venue?
Zhou Jian: Everyone says that my robot can educate children and is just needed, which is really good. But in terms of education, I haven’t done any research on education before, but our company specially established “Ubiquit Education”, and carried out a lot of research and exploration on education in the early stage.
Whether it is on-campus or off-campus education, we take off-campus education as an example. Many robot training courses are actually very few companies that have really achieved good profits or really survived very well. Robot education in chain stores, in the current environment where the foundation is not very good, it is impossible for robot education to break through, or to rise further. Many parents’ awareness of robot education has not yet reached this stage. Therefore, I think that robot education should be both on-campus and off-campus in a sense, so the first step for us to step into is on-campus education. Next, you will see that our robot education will really penetrate into every school in many provinces and cities this year, including curriculum settings.
Where is the course? How does this course conform to the trend of our education syllabus, and where do the teachers come from? Now the school teachers are unwilling to give you a robotics class, there is no benefit in taking it, and he does not understand it. This is a systematic, macroscopic and very big engineering. It is impossible to accomplish this education through a simple one or two, with very little investment, so we have invested a lot in education, but everyone has not fully felt it yet. We are cultivating teachers, we are A joint venture was established with Beijing Normal University to train teachers. We are planning from start to finish. I think only when courses, teachers, personnel, hardware, and materials are all integrated into one system, it is possible to truly do a good job in school education in China in the world. Well done, then off-campus. But I don’t want robot education to become a tool for children’s future college entrance examination.
The stabilization and commercialization of servo steering gear is the key to mass production, and AI technology is fully deployed
Q: From starting a business as a steering gear, to a complete robot, to adding an intelligent interactive system, what will be the more difficult breakthrough points in the whole process?
Zhou Jian: In stages. Ubisoft is a start-up company. Our initial difficulty was the problem of the technical team. It was technically difficult for us to stabilize the servo servo, which is what we call commercialization. Maybe you can see that there are some small humanoid robots similar to servo servos on the market, but in fact, you need to stabilize and commercialize it, which is a very big breakthrough. Ubisoft has always put a lot of effort into this aspect, no matter from supply chain, technology, R&D, new product introduction, we have spent a lot of effort, which is what keeps me awake every day. Places, in a sense, we spent a lot of power.
Second, when we were in the frontier layout, everyone knew that there were not so many talents in the field of artificial intelligence, and the competition was very fierce. This is a very big challenge for startups and UBTECH, so we have been I am doing my best to not only make current products, but also make some layouts for the future.
Last year, we introduced Dr. Tao Dacheng, who has changed us a lot, and made us re-understand machine vision. How to make our robot truly understand the world, for example, when a robot enters this room, the first point is to recognize the entire surrounding environment. It is very simple for a human to enter a strange environment. The first point is to see the sofa, table and chairs in this environment. How to place it; the second step is to see how many people there are, to perform face recognition, and to know whether these people are parents, grandparents, and so on. Let me give a detailed example. When we were particularly surprised at the time, if the cooking fumes were very heavy, it would affect the robot’s judgment and changes in light, including the fumes. We thought how big the fumes could be. , In fact, it will cause the robot’s visual judgment to be blurred, and it is not as easy to adjust as humans. Then we need to atomize, remove white, and remove oil fume. These are all problems for us, so we made a lot of efforts in this area at that time. In addition, including recognizing the posture of the human body, there are many human actions, and the robot will do many actions. What is the purpose and meaning of this action? It involves multimodal visual recognition.
Because I started with hardware, I don’t have to admit that our company was relatively weak in software before, but as a start-up company, we not only want to make the current products well, so we have made great efforts in this area. layout. In the future, we hope to establish a set of global robot standards in a sense, such as what is the standard of a humanoid robot, what are its specifications, its crankshaft motion, including some basic needs of artificial intelligence, we are trying to build, but This market has not really come up yet, we are just doing some more cutting-edge and guiding work.
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