VARTA AG and SoftBank Robotics Europe expand cooperation

VARTA and SoftBank Robotics Europe have been working together since 2012. The successful 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 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 were 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 realising 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.

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VARTA AG produces and markets a comprehensive battery portfolio ranging from micro batteries, household batteries, energy storage systems to customised battery solutions for a variety of applications and sets the industry standards as a technology leader in key areas. As the parent company of the Group, it is divided into the segments "Micro Batteries", "Lithium-Ion CoinPower", "Consumer Batteries", "Energy Storage Systems" and "Other".
The "Micro Batteries" segment includes micro and hearing aid batteries, "Lithium-Ion CoinPower" small-format lithium-ion round cells for OEM applications. "Consumer Batteries" represents the business with household batteries, rechargeable batteries, chargers, portable power (power banks) and lights. “Energy Storage Systems" includes energy storage solutions for primarily private, but also for commercial applications. The "Other" segment includes the "Lithium-Ion Battery Packs" and "Lithium-Ion Large Cells" business units (high-performance lithium-ion round cells for industrial applications in the automotive and non-automotive sectors).
Through intensive research and development, VARTA sets global standards in many areas of lithium-ion technology and in micro batteries, making it a recognised innovation leader in the important growth markets of lithium-ion technology and in primary hearing aid batteries. The VARTA AG Group currently employs around 4,200 people. With five production and manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia as well as distribution centres in Asia, Europe and the USA, VARTA AG's operating subsidiaries are currently active in over 100 countries worldwide.

About SoftbankRobotics Europe

Leader in humanoid robotics, SoftBank Robotics Europe (SBRE) is headquartered in Paris and regroups about 400 employees. Creator of the robots NAO and Pepper, used today in more than 70 countries worldwide, in various fields, such as retail, healthcare, tourism and education, SoftBank Robotics Europe is a subsidiary of SoftBank Robotics Group Corp.

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