Atlanta is continually proving itself as a burgeoning U.S. tech hub. The city is home to a diverse array of tech companies across various industries from healthcare to logistics, and has a broad tech talent pool that makes it ideal for building out a team. Given all the features that make Atlanta an attractive place to do business, it’s no wonder why Tokyo-based robotics systems company Mujin is establishing its U.S. presence here with Mujin Corp.
While the company operates in the robotics space, it doesn’t actually manufacture robots. Instead, Mujin develops machine intelligence technology that combines motion planning, perception, simulation and control tech to help with logistics tasks like palletizing and piece picking. The company’s core product, the Mujin Controller, connects to robots and enables them to autonomously handle complex tasks without the need for human coding to walk them through each movement.
“Really the technology hasn’t been there in the past to do some of these more difficult palletizing or depalletizing applications. With robotics, you always have to be very specific about what you want it to do and how you want to move, and you’re really training each individual waypoint traditionally,” Josh Cloer, Mujin’s U.S. director of sales, told Built In. “We were able to create more intelligent robotic solutions that can understand what the pallet and all of the boxes look like in real-time and figure out how to move the boxes, even though it didn’t know anything about what it was going to look like beforehand.”
Mujin is pursuing its mission to bring more automation to the logistics space in a time where the industry is primed for innovation thanks to modern technology, Cloer said. From improved hardware capabilities to advanced problem-solving software, Mujin is pursuing growth and global expansion at an ideal time.
A number of reasons contribute to Mujin’s decision to start that expansion in the Atlanta metro. With the city’s diverse talent pool at the top of its list, Mujin also selected the location for its easy accessibility thanks to its proximity to the Hartsfield-Jackson airport, as well as the city’s low cost of living and collaborative technology scene. The company recently moved into a permanent office space in Sandy Springs that will house engineering, sales and support talent.
“As we were thinking about different places to go, one of the big things is we wanted to be able to attract talent to wherever we were going to [plant] our flag, and Atlanta is a very talent-heavy market,” Cloer said.
Nearby colleges, including the Georgia Institute of Technology and Kennesaw State University, also drew Mujin to the metro.
“We can really pull from all of the colleges that are around the Atlanta metro area,” Cloer said.
On top of the broad talent market, Cloer highlighted the Atlanta area for its ample presence of local automotive companies, big material handling companies and other robotics end-users, such as UPS, which recently acquired delivery company Roadie. Mujin has noted a labor shortage as fewer people are searching for jobs that involve manually moving materials all day, so now more companies than ever before are turning to robotics solutions to solve some of those tasks as the e-commerce industry continues to grow, Cloer said.
“What’s going to be critical in the short-term is making sure that we scale up as quickly as we need to for the different projects that we’re giving proposals for and winning,” he said. “We’re going to need to have an engineering team that can fit that [and] fulfill that need. ... We’re still figuring out what that number is from a planning perspective, but we are hiring actively for engineers today, and plan to hire many more over the next year.”