AUBO Robotics, which develops lightweight robots for industrial use, has opened a research and development facility at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus in Knoxville.
AUBO Robotics opened in Knoxville in 2014 as Smokie Robotics and was formerly located at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation Business Incubator. The company is owned by DunAn Group and operates a second research and development corporation in Beijing, China.
“We chose Cherokee Farm because the campus allows us access to some of the best research and development facilities in the world,” said Peter Farkas, vice president of AUBO Robotics. “Everything from basic science to large-scale advanced manufacturing and innovation in robotics and automation is covered within a 25-mile radius.”
The company’s research will benefit industry as well as the university.
“AUBO Robotics creates exceptional possibilities that will allow for collaboration between the university and the company,” Farkas said. “Students will be a primary beneficiary of the development facility because of the applied knowledge in a working environment. AUBO Robotics will contribute to both industrial applications and academic research in the field.”
Four UT mechanical engineering students – Jose Bonilla, Christopher Mobley, Benjamin Terry and Jasmine Worlds – conducted their senior project this year using the arm of an existing AUBO-i5 robot with the challenge to “give the robot eyes and get the arm to pick up any aesthetic object,” Bonilla said.
The students used their programming experience to enhance the functionality of the robotic arm by coding it to pick up objects by visual retrieval. AUBO Robotics allows students to apply knowledge from the classroom to a real-world challenge, and, in this case, their work will assist with the robotic arm being operational on industrial production lines.
AUBO Robotics’ industry-leading products are designed to be adaptable across multiple industrial platforms with workplace safety a key objective.
Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is a collaboration between UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It is the first research park in the United States to build a world-class materials science research facility for its tenants – the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. The $56 million, 140,000-square-foot facility offers unparalleled advanced research capabilities, including polymer labs and advanced microscopy.
“This partnership with AUBO Robotics is evidence that our vision for Cherokee Farm is becoming reality,” said Cliff Hawks, president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation. “Our primary goal is to develop public-private partnerships that advance relationships with the technology resources in our region, and AUBO Robotics aligns perfectly with our mission.”
AUBO Robotics develops lightweight cooperative robots that can be used in multiple industries, including the automotive, electronics, machinery and technology fields. The modularized open unit robots, known as OURs, offer affordable, reliable, reconfigurable and open-architecture robots to end users and researchers. Open architecture means it is easy to add, upgrade and swap components.
The partnership between UT and ORNL and immediate availability of a state-of-the-art facility for high-end, collaborative research were factors in AUBO Robotics’ decision to select Cherokee Farm.
AUBO Robotics is the third private tenant announced for Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus. Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC), which provides innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in multiple engineering fields, was announced in May 2016 as the anchor tenant in the campus’ first privately developed building. Arkis BioSciences, a medical device company, opened on the campus in October 2017.
Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is an ideal fit for firms that will benefit from close partnerships with UT and ORNL and access to the unparalleled capabilities of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. The campus is leasing space and will build to suit.