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Unbounded Robotics Intends to Sell the First Mass-Produced and Widely Sold Robot, But Closes Down Instead

10/2013 to 9/12/2014
photograph of the UBR-1 robot

The Unbounded Robotics UBR-1 robot.

In October 2013 Unbounded Robotics, a spinoff formed in January 2013 from Willow Garage in Menlo Park, announced that it would ship the UBR-1 robot in mid-2014 for the low price of $35,000. According to Melonee Wise, the CEO of Unbounded Robotics, the UBR-1 would be "the Model T of robots," suggesting that it would be the first mass-produced and widely sold robot. 

"The UBR1 makes use of the open-source Robot Operating System originally developed at Willow and can be described as a simpler version of Willow’s flagship PR2, a large mobile robot with two arms that sold to research labs for $400,000. Although the PR2 became the basis for projects that pushed the boundaries of robot autonomy (see “Robots That Learn From People” and “TR35: Leila Takayama”), the high price meant that only a handful were sold. Wise says that just 43 PR2s exist in labs around the world today"  (Tom Simonite, "Why This Might Be the Model T of Workplace Robots," Technology Review, October 21, 2013, accessed 10-22-2013)

Well, it turned out that Unbounded Robotics shut down on September 12, 2014. Even so, a great video about the UBR-1 remained available in September 2020:

Introducing UBR-1 from Unbounded Robotics on Vimeo.

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