"We Know There is Still a Long Way to Go" Interview with Angsa RoboticsNews
With its intelligent waste collection robot, Munich-based start-up Angsa Robotics is currently attracting a lot of attention - not only from potential customers and the media, but also from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who came to Munich Urban Colab in early November to get a personal impression. We talked to the team about their idea, their journey to their own start-up and further plans.
Who are you and how did you find each other as a team?
We are Karl Schulz, graduate in Robotics and Cognition Intelligence, Lukas Wiesmeier, graduate in Management & Technology, and Bilal Tariq, graduate in Mechanical Engineering. Our team met for the first time at the innovation format THINK.MAKE.START of UnternehmerTUM, TU München and TUM ForTe and developed the idea of an autonomous waste collection robot together there.
Your business idea was a real breakthrough - can you tell us more about it?
It simply bothered us that there was so much litter in parks like the English Garden. During the seminar, we asked ourselves why this was the case. After a few discussions with those responsible, it turned out that there is no way to remove the litter by machine for these surfaces - unlike on asphalt, where sweepers have been used successfully for years. This is how the first prototype equipped with computer vision came about. After the successful completion of the seminar, we decided to pursue the idea further. Later, Philippo joined the founding team after completing his master's thesis in mechanical engineering at Angsa Robotics and was instrumental in developing the third prototype.
What challenges did you face in planning and implementing your technology?
As with any start-up, we are always faced with major challenges. The combination of different technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous navigation requires a broad-based team with a lot of technical expertise. Through Corona, we also had to calibrate our entry market, because our planned market entry in the festival and event industry could not take place as planned. Another challenge, therefore, is contacting cities, municipalities and public institutions, where sales cycles tend to be long.
Where and how did you build your prototype?
The first prototype was built at THINK.MAKE.START 2019 in the MakerSpace. The following prototypes were then also all made by us in the MakerSpace. The current prototype "Dodo" consists largely of parts that can also be used in the first small series, but is already much more robust and resistant than its predecessor "Clive".
What has changed for you personally since you became a successful start-up?
"Successful" sounds like the journey is already over - even though we are proud of what we have achieved so far, we know that there is still a long way to go. Personally, not that much has changed overall. Of course, we are constantly growing in our tasks and challenges that we have to manage on a regular basis. I would say that especially since this summer, when there were extremely stressful phases, we have simply grown even closer together as a team. Of course, it's nice to see that Angsa Robotics also radiates this to the outside world and that we get positive feedback about us and the product.
Where do you currently stand with your innovation?
We are currently at a very interesting and groundbreaking point. The next milestone is the 1st round of financing, which we are currently working on. Before that, we first had to complete the 4th prototype "Dodo" and equip it with the most important functions, as well as gather extensive feedback from our customers during a Germany-wide roadshow.
In addition to financing, we want to work with a number of partners to bring the robot to product maturity in the medium term. In the short term, this means that we will continue to work on navigation, waste detection and the safety of the overall system in the coming year. Further more, we plan to offer the robot in the DACH region, although the problem is of course also relevant outside the German-speaking region. For the meantime, the final development of the robot is the biggest challenge for us.
What points of contact did you have with UnternehmerTUM / Munich Urban Colab?
TUM, UnternehmerTUM and the MakerSpace have supported us in many ways. From the beginning with especially ideational help in formats like THINK.MAKE.START and XPRENEURS to the possibility to build our prototypes in the MakerSpace, UnternehmerTUM has always supported us. As part of the Munich Urban Colab, we especially get regular opportunities to expand our network and use the MakerSpace here as well.
Thank you very much for the interview!