Sep 21, 2022 - Business

Austin-based Apptronik partners with NASA

An earlier prototype of Apptronik's Apollo. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

Austin robotics company Apptronik will partner with NASA to accelerate commercialization of its latest humanoid robot, the startup announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The robot, named Apollo, will be one of the first humanoids available to the commercial markets, with the goal of assisting humans in industries like logistics, retail, hospitality, aerospace and more.

Why it matters: Special-purpose robots are only capable of doing one repetitive task, but Apollo is designed to do a wide range of tasks in different environments. (Imagine a robot that can help unload trucks and stock shelves.)

  • NASA first partnered with Apptronik in 2013 during the DARPA Robotics Challenge, where the company's founders were selected to work on NASA's Valkyrie Robot.

What they're saying: "Continued investment from NASA validates the work we are doing at Apptronik and the inflection point we have reached in robotics," Apptronik's founder and CEO Jeff Cardenas said. "These robots will first become tools for us here on Earth, and will ultimately help us move beyond and explore the stars."

Catch up quick: Apptronik, founded in 2016, spun off from the Human-Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas with the goal of building robots to work alongside humans.

  • The startup quickly grew, raising $14.6 million in June.
  • The company has 52 employees based in Austin with plans to double by next year, Cardenas told Axios in June.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Austin.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Austin stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Austin.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more