Promobot, a successful Russian robotics startup, has secured RUB200mn ($2.7mn) from the Far-East High Technology Fund as it intends to open a branch in this far-flung Russian region, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).
This local branch will develop sophisticated artificial skin and hair to enhance the look of these robots. The fresh funding will also help Promobot develop AI-powered dialog systems.
Founded in 2015, Promobot claims to sell its robots in 38 countries across the world, including the United States. These engines work as promoters, museum guides, concierges, bank consultants and administrators. They can be programmed to speak multiple languages and recognize people with whom they previously interacted.
The company also claims it has developed a technology to have robot imitate subtly a person’s facial expressions while speaking.
“This is yet another step towards getting robots and AI-powered devices in general closer to human beings,” says Promobot advisor Andrey Zotov.
Recently, as COVID-19 hit Russia, the startup launched a disinfection robot and a thermocontrol device.
The Far-East High Technology Fund was launched in 2018 by three state-backed organizations: the Far East Development Fund, national fund of funds RVC and nanotech giant Rusnano.
The fund received 5bn rubles (roughly $75mn) to invest in fast-growing tech companies that can “nurture the business environment of the Russian Far-East” while “holding a promise for the future.”