The State of Robotics – August 2022

The State of Robotics – August 2022

Another fascinating month for robotics. Researchers are the highlight of the month. Through their work, we are pushing the boundaries of self-awareness, complex structure and even the limits of life and death.To get more news about GRS, you can visit official website.

The Enabot Ebo Air is a friendly smart home robot, designed to keep the family company. It allows you to interact with your family at home while you’re away. It can take photos and videos as well as recognise faces, and you can steer it around the house via Wi-Fi. Recently, the security assessment firm Modux was asked to evaluate the security of the robot, and found two important vulnerabilities. Modux disclosed the issues to the manufacturer, who has since addressed the risks and released a fix.

The first issue found was the use of a shared password for the system administrator (root) account. The Enabot Ebo Air robot came pre-configured with a default system administrator password, which was weak and shared across all devices. An attacker could have used this to connect via SSH (secure shell), and gain full administrative permissions. The recommendation was to disable SSH functionality, which the manufacturer did.

The second bug was a missing secure-delete functionality, which could potentially disclose information from the previous owner if the robot was resold. The robot did not effectively perform a secure deletion of data when a factory reset was initiated, leaving behind artefacts from previous uses of the device, including cleartext Wi-Fi passwords and session tokens from the previous owner. For this, the recommendation was to use a secure deletion functionality instead, overwriting all sensitive data multiple times.

An attacker could have used these vulnerabilities to move the robot, access the camera, record video, speak through the microphone, among other tasks, effectively using it as a surveillance device. This event highlights the importance of security awareness and thorough testing, as robots continue to serve and accompany us more and more in our daily lives.
Every time Amazon launches or acquires a new company (especially one developing a device) the whole internet starts talking about the data and privacy implications. Yes, certainly data is important for Amazon. But that is not the whole story. Today I want to talk about the impact this acquisition has on investors and how this could boost the market.

Funding a robotics venture is not easy. Between March 2020 and March 2021, robotics companies raised only 8% in capital compared to AI companies. AI-focused startups raised a total of $73.4 billion while robotics startups raised $6.3 billion. This is a paltry sum in comparison, especially when we saw an increasing need for robotics in several industries (due to COVID).

There are many reasons behind this. One of those, and the most important one, is the increased risk perception from investors. Robotics development is expensive and takes time.

But moves like Amazon’s show something to investors: a profitable exit. Amazon will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion. A success story is always needed to push investment, and this certainly makes one.

This is not an isolated event. It comes after 2 years of really interesting acquisitions. Take Zebra’s acquisition of Fetch, or John Deere’s acquisitions of ROS-based startups. Investors are aware, now more than ever, that while the risk is high, the profit/ROI could be as well. Moves like Amazon launching Astro create more incentives.

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