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ABB Robotics AI
Startup Challenge 2024


Empowering robotics with AI innovation


Empowering robotics with AI innovation

Imagine a world where robots seamlessly interact with humans and their environment, learning new skills, making intelligent decisions, and adapting to complex tasks.

At ABB Robotics, we are fully committed to turning this vision into reality by driving innovation and accelerating adoption of the next generation of Robotics – a step closer to harnessing the potential of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Our mission is to create a future where robots are more capable, versatile, and user-friendly than ever before.

Throughout this Challenge, we want to collaborate with disruptive startups and scaleups – not only to contribute towards realizing the paradigm of AGI in the robotics domain, but also to deliver innovative industrial AI and digital solutions to market. Let’s work together to shape the future of robotics and automation – join the challenge!

Watch the introduction video

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Winner award: Collaboration project with ABB Robotics worth 30,000 USD. A pathway to gain access to ABB's global network, cutting-edge robotics and potential long-term partnership opportunities. 

About the challenge

The ABB Robotics AI Startup Challenge aims to revolutionize the field of robotics by simplifying programming, enhancing skill acquisition, and enabling autonomous decision-making. We invite startups and scaleups to collaborate with us in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI-powered robotics.

By incorporating Generative AI and other disruptive AI technologies to robotics, we seek to create user-friendly systems that allow the next generation of robots to:

  • Be programmed through natural language

  • Learn new skills efficiently

  • Make autonomous decisions in real-world scenario

For customers, this means:

  • Enabling experts and non-experts to program robots with ease

  • Empowering to tackle previously impossible applications

  • Reducing time-to-value when deploying robotic solutions

What we are looking for

The ideal candidates are top-tier startups and scaleups offering innovative cutting-edge AI technologies and solutions that can be seamlessly integrated with existing robotic systems, enhancing ease of use, flexibility, and efficiency across various industries. The focus must be on practical, real-life industrial applications that demonstrate the immense potential of AI in revolutionizing the field of robotics.

The 3 challenge topics

Applicants are welcomed to participate in one or more of the following challenge tracks:

TRACK 1 main

Topic 1: Prompt-based Natural Language Programming

To enable expert and non-expert users to program ABB robots through Generative AI, based on natural language and prompt engineering.

Apply if your company focuses on natural language processing and Generative AI technologies to create intuitive, end-to-end code-free robot programming solutions. We’re looking for innovative approaches that go beyond simply using ChatGPT to generate RAPID code.

Generative AI algorithms and models shall be designed and leveraged to generate executable robot program code. The generated code can be RAPID or any other language which can interface with RAPID through APIs. Non-expert users shall be able to develop end-to-end solutions in a fully intuitive and fast manner. On the other hand, expert users will benefit from such solutions, boosting their development and enabling higher and faster reach.


Download the ABB application Powerpoint template 

Topic 2: Skill Learning & Acquisition

TRACK 2 main

To enable robots to learn and acquire new sensory-motor skills efficiently, leading to higher degrees of perception and dexterous manipulation.

Apply if your company focuses on AI technologies that enables robots to efficiently acquire new skills. The focus should be on enhancing robots’ ability to learn and adapt to new tasks in real-world industrial settings.


Sensory-motor robot skills can be acquired in different ways, for instance, programming by demonstration and imitation learning are promising strategies for transferring skills from humans to robots. Multi-modal and cross-model AI (language, visual, etc.) could be leveraged to build a strong foundation to create skill representations which can be transformed into solid skills and robot actions.


Download the ABB application Powerpoint template 

Topic 3: Planning & Decision Making

TRACK 3 main

To enable robots with true decision-making capabilities to resolve next actions based on world models and real-time sensor data processing.

Apply if your company focuses on innovative AI and sensor data processing technologies that can leverage cross-AI models to enhance robots’ autonomous decision-making and dynamic task planning capabilities. Solutions should enable robots to intelligently navigate and respond to real-time changes in complex and dynamic industrial environments.


Download the ABB application Powerpoint template 

Setup & demonstrator

  • You can freely decide how to demonstrate your solution

  • Real or virtual robot environment, with any robot brand

  • Industrial or close to industrial use-cases will be highly valued

Our journey

ABB Robotics journey.png

Awards for the winner

  • $30,000 for a collaboration with ABB Robotics to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that can be productized and offered to ABB customers

  • 6-months free SynerLeap Special Membership, ABB’s startup accelerator, which will boost your growth and visibility across ABB, our partners and customers (Value $10'000)

Collaborate with ABB Robotics experts


Katja Butterweck
Global Product Manager


Jordi Artigas
Global Innovation Manager


About ABB Robotics

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation (RA) as one of the world’s leading robotics and machine automation suppliers, is the only company with a comprehensive and integrated portfolio covering robots, Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) and machine automation solutions, designed and orchestrated by our value-creating software. 

We help companies of all sizes and sectors - from automotive to electronics and logistics – become more resilient, flexible and efficient. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation supports customers in the transition towards the connected and collaborative factory of the future. The business area employs approximately 11,000 people at over 100 locations in approximately 53 countries.


Get awarded with a 6 months Special Membership (value $10K)
SynerLeap – ABB's growth hub

  • Matchmaking with ABB organization, partners and startups

  • Get support in navigating ABB and a tailored introduction to ABB’s experts and scientists

  • Meet ABB’s customers together with ABB

  • Explore possibilities for pilots and POC's paid by ABB's R&D and business organization

  • Participate in events and workshops arranged by SynerLeap, ABB and our partners

  • Increase the visibility and network 



Let’s write the future. Together.
ABB is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

SynerLeap powered by ABB
By bringing startups, ABB, industrial partners and our customers together through our innovation growth hub SynerLeap, we ignite innovation transfer across industries, ranging from industrial automation, and robotics to grid technologies, smart cities, buildings and transportation technologies. So far we have created more than 220 collaborations, together with our 200 startup members from 26 countries. SynerLeap brings in up to 4 new members monthly, and one new ABB collaboration is starting every week. Sandvik, Microsoft, Hitachi Energy and IBM are just a few examples of our partners that together bring value into our entrepreneurial ecosystem. 
We are open to international members!

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