Mujin marks its 10th anniversary on July 6, 2021. Mujin started from a small garage in Japan in the midst of adversity and has grown till today by pursuing the essence of things rather than being influenced by trends. Thanks to lots of partner companies and our employees, Mujin was able to come so far.
Born in adversity
Mujin was established in 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan in addition to the Lehman shock. The economy was sluggish, unemployment rate was high, and it was not the time that automation was actively considered. But from a long-term perspective, it was clear that labor shortage would become severe in the future as the declining birthrate and aging population were accelerating. Even in the manufacturing industry, where robots were used the most, automation by robots was not yet sufficiently advanced. Mujin was born to accelerate automation before it becomes too late.
We laid a carpet in a 41㎡ garage in Tokyo, and set up an office to start.
Service robots were the major trend
The first several years of Mujin’s life, the service robots were the major trend in robotics. In 2013, the communication robot, “Robi” emerged. And a social humanoid robot, “Pepper” was released in 2014.
Mujin, however, stuck to its focus on the industrial field and proceeded with development even though it was against the trend. There was the founders’ strong desire to “solve social problems with our technology.”
The age of Deep Learning
Furthermore, at the time of our founding, the world was beginning to experience the “3rd AI boom”. It all started when Professor Geoffrey Hinton’s team at the University of Toronto won an overwhelming victory at an image recognition contest, the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) 2012, by using Deep Learning technology for the first time. In the same year, Google succeeded in recognizing the images of cats with Deep Learning. These two events drew a lot of attention to Deep Learning, and it was generally recognized as “AI,” which led to the 3rd AI boom.
On the other hand, Mujin’s development has been based on the technology called “Motion Planning.” In environments where certainty is required, such as in manufacturing and logistics, we determined that we had to use Motion Planning to find solutions based on calculations, rather than Deep Learning where the logics cannot be followed. In a situation where the application of this technology to robots was said to be impossible for many years, and with Deep Learning becoming a trend, Mujin believed and pushed forward to create an intelligent robot based on Motion Planning.
10 years so far
Founded by two founders in the midst of adversity, Mujin has been able to stay ahead of the times and follow the path it believes in for 10 years. Today, it has become a company of over 150 people, has won 18 awards, and has over 600 Mujin intelligent robots working in the field around the world.
We still have a long way to go to realize our vision of “Liberating humans from manual labor to make them focus on creativity, innovation, and making the world a better place.”
Realization of people-friendly and easy-to-work-in factories and warehouses. Realization of a strong company through an environment where people can focus on improving productivity and creative work. Realization of a world where people can work efficiently and spend more time with their hobbies and loved ones. With these goals in mind, we will continue to expand the potential of robots and accelerate the automation.