From Proof of Concept to a Product — a Step or a Steep?
Getting ready to present the Moley robotics kitchen to the public eye, we look back at our incredible five-year journey. It took us from the first vision concentrated on robotic hands to an elaborate robotic kitchen integrated with smart intercommunicating systems. Five years — is it a lot or a little time spent on such a project? Вefore your answer, let’s take a closer look at the development process.
Proof of Concept vs. New Product Based on References
Proof of Concept (POC) is a realization of a certain method or idea created to demonstrate its feasibility and practical potential. Statistically, 85% of AI POC fail to deliver on their initial promise, and 60% of IoT POC never see the world as a real product.
Among the prevailing reasons: critical error — failure to create a model with the required reliability level, the high cost of scaling, unclear business value, lack of necessarily technology/knowledge/resources to scale, vendors not willing to subsidize pilots.
What is the key-note difference between creating an innovative product and a new product based on references?
In the first case, you work directly with the core technology that wasn’t introduced before, move blindfolded, in peril of facing a critical error at any step. In the latter case, you use references to previously created products as leverage and know for sure that principally the product is workable.
When creating the first innovative product, a company faces engineering tasks and conceptual tasks, in other words, a necessity to make the product not only functional and safe but also replicable and user-friendly. These tasks are accompanied by a double risk — not seeing a potential challenge that can turn into a critical error and not being able to overcome this challenge, as it was never done before, and you cannot rely on positive or negative references. At any step, you are not guaranteed that after one engineering or conceptual task is solved, another one won’t occur.
There is no road-map for trail-blazing products.
The development of new products and their components based on proven references is still a time-consuming and multistep process, say nothing of an astonishing chasm between a POC and an actual commercial model.
Well-Known POC Examples
Drone delivery. In 2013, the first drone delivery service was introduced, and the market got flooded with speculations on the robotics era’s speedy advancement. Eventually, three years passed between the announcement and the first test delivery. While the POC model looked promising, the problems with batteries’ capacity for delivery drones, powerlines they often can’t see, limited lifting capacity, and safe space to leave the delivered goods are still to be solved. The same limitations affected the development of the air taxi.
Autonomous cars. While current technologies allow the creation of a fully autonomous car, challenges with its safety and integration to the environment haven’t yet been solved. Compared to human drivers, such cars are incapable of playing it by ear, acting intuitively in a variety of situations which cannot be programmed from A to Z. Sensors of autonomous cars should work without a hitch, not affected by the adverse weather conditions. There is also no proven information that machine learning methods used to recognize, process, and react to sensors’ data are fully reliable. That is why, for now, producers settled on a middle-way option — a human driver should control the autopilot.
Multifunctional anthropomorphic consumer robots. Several companies are trying to introduce multifunctional anthropomorphic consumer robots to the market. However, they require a lot of additional components to function correctly, which makes robots exceptionally massive, expensive, poor in terms of functionality and far from the required effectiveness and autonomy. High requirements for the dynamic stability that ensures safety of people around it is for now not balanced with the reasonable size and price of such a robot.
New Products Based on References Examples
Planes. The production and legalization of the improved model of the same line can be time-consuming. When creating a new model even without bringing trailblazing innovations inside, developers are focused on de-risking the used avionics programs, improving systems of communication, decreasing the carbon footprint and making flights more economic. For example, it takes Boeing 5 to 9 years between the announcement of a new aircraft model’s development and its first passenger revenue flight.
More innovative elements. Perfecting certain parts of the existing models can also take an impressive amount of time. Creating a new dashboard for one of the most luxurious cars presented in 2020 took 100,000 collective hours within two years.
Moley’s Path From PoC to a Consumer Product
The first Moley Robotics introduced five years ago was a Proof of Concept. And even such a gigantic step as passing from POC to a working model was not enough to present it for sale. The product should have been tested for safety, durability, and functionality.
To solve the challenge of safe and efficient integration, we have created a closed environment in which Moley’s robotic hands can operate. This kitchen module is based on a smart technology capable of communicating between each device, robotic components, and subsystems. Thanks to this, there won’t be problems with the safety and predictability of the robot’s actions, all of which can be entirely programmed in advance.
In the past five years, we have managed to create robotic manipulators able to cook food and defined, created, and tested the necessary environment for a robot to function. It took our talented team of more than 100 engineers from a variety of world-class robotics companies not more than it normally takes to create a new complex product based on references. Within these five years we have filed over 70 patents, most of which are invention patents, protecting the business’s core. As a result, Moley Robotics has a unique patent portfolio that makes us an ultimate leader in terms of approaches to robotic kitchen development.
Our team of engineers worked in collaboration with a team of interior and kitchen designers who completed the look of the kitchen with a combination of stylish form and exquisite materials resulting in the final, elegant look. Designs are applicable to a kitchen area of almost any style.
We are delighted to announce that the innovative Moley robotic kitchen is scheduled to launch later this year.
Also we are also currently working on developing a commercial robotic kitchen since we have been receiving multiple requests from hotels, restaurants, catering services, and medical institutions.
We would like to take the next weeks before the launch to give you more details on the development process as well as on our innovative product. Let us disclose our journey chapter by chapter and follow our updates.