AMP Robotics raises $55M for its AI-based recycling robot

AMP’s three-armed picker machine uses AI to sort recyclables

AMP Robotic's recycling-sorting robot working over a conveyor belt of recyclables

Recycling robotics company AMP Robotics has announced it’s raised $55 million in a funding round led by XN.

Valor Equity Partners, GV, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Congruent Ventures, and Closed Loop Partners also participated in the funding round.

AMP said it’ll use the funds to scale its business operations and develop new artificial intelligence (AI) applications that can integrate into material-recycling facilities. The startup also aims to increase its customers’ recycling rates.

“We are excited to partner with AMP as Matanya and the team continue to build an exceptional and category-defining business," said Gaurav Kapadia, XN founder. "AMP's technology radically improves the economics and efficiency of recycling and creates transformational long-term value for customers, the economy, and the environment."

AMP Cortex, AMP Robotics’ high-speed robotic sorting system, uses AI to handle sorting, selecting, and placing recyclables. The system segregates a wide range of materials, including metals, batteries, capacitors, plastics, PCBs, wires, cartons, bottle caps, cardboard, cups, clamshells, lids, aluminum, metal, mixed wood, asphalt, bricks, concrete, and mixed plastics. It can also sort plastic film by color, clarity, and opacity.

Here’s how it works: A three-armed picker robot with an adaptable frame location and height sits on a conveyor belt where a moveable steel frame holds it in place. AMP Neuron, which uses personal computer vision to distinguish visual attributes, feeds the picker robot the information it needs to sort the materials. 

AMP Neuron also processes millions of pictures via AMP Robotics’ cloud network to more accurately sort objects, study new classes of components, adapt to packaging style and lighting alterations, and recover higher-demand materials, including paper, tissue, cardboard, and other packaging.

AMP Insights, a visualization tool that monitors material stream activity and functionality, taps into the system and delivers real-time notifications via text or email to keep facility managers abreast of gear difficulties and hazards. 

“AMP is a transformational company in the global waste industry, similar to companies we have partnered with in other sectors,” said Sam Teller, partner at Valor Equity Partners. “We believe deeply in AMP’s potential to update and scale our waste infrastructure to meet ramping demand for recycled content and to create a more sustainable, circular economy.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the material-recycling industry, as social-distancing protocols have limited the human workforce. This is a key reason the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates waste-sorting robotics will be a $12.26 billion industry by 2024.

Also boosting its popularity is its 80-item-per-minute pick rate, which AMP Robotics claims outperforms human workers.  

This latest round of funding follows a $16 million Series A round in November 2019.

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