VARTA AG and SoftBank Robotics Expand Cooperation

In the future, VARTA will not only be a battery supplier for Pepper – the world’s first social humanoid robot – but will also work together with SoftBank Robotics Europe on a new battery format. The battery platform is targeted at various emerging applications in the field of robotics.

VARTA and SoftBank Robotics Europe have been working together since 2012. The cooperation in the areas of product and project development as well as in technical design is now being continued and intensified in a new major project: Together, the two technology companies are developing a battery platform that will serve as a battery module suitable for emerging robotic applications at SoftBank Robotics Europe.

The start of the VARTA and Softbank Robotics collaboration was the development of the battery for the humanoid robot Pepper, which uses facial recognition and is able to engage with people through conversation and its touch screen. Pepper is used as an assistant in various industries and fields.

The platform’s batteries are to be used in the latest version of Pepper and in other emerging applications such as next-gen robotic platforms for new markets.

Gordon Clements, General Manager, Varta Solutions:

“The whole field of robotics will have a significant impact on our lives. VARTA was able to master the complex battery requirements for a humanoid robot like Pepper, translate them into a simple solution, and then deliver in volume manufacturing. Now we want to develop the technology further and make it applicable to the entire portfolio of Softbank Robotics. With the planned battery platform, we are creating the basis for many different autonomous and smart robotic applications that will make our lives easier and more comfortable – reducing SoftBank Robotics time to market and investment when realizing new robotic applications.”

 

“Thanks to its expertise and its successes built in different market applications, VARTA together with SoftBank Robotics Europe teams are working on the definition of our battery for our next generation robotics platform with the constant goals of accelerating the time-to-market, proposed the good cost structure by never compromising performance and feature set. This state-of-the-art architecture allows SoftBank Robotics Europe to use the same battery as a global asset for different projects and products. VARTA’s team connects us to a complete ecosystem made of WW manufacturing capabilities and partners,”

says Xavier Lacherade, COO of SoftBank Robotics Europe.

The platform’s batteries will be produced at VARTA’s highly automated production facility at the VARTA site in Brasov, Romania. With more than ten years of experience on high-tech production lines, around two million individual battery formats and solutions are manufactured annually for major customers and OEMs.