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Academy of Robotics closes funding after six hours

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WALES-BASED electric autonomous vehicle company, the Academy of Robotics, has closed its latest funding round in under six hours.

Investment came in so quickly that founder William Sachiti turned down an additional £500,000 that was offered.

The Academy of Robotics, which was initially set up at the University of Aberystwyth and now also has offices in Cardiff, is currently developing Kar-Go, the autonomous delivery vehicle. Kar-Go hopes to shake-up the delivery market by removing 90% of the costs involved in making a delivery – helping to increase profits for logistics companies and decrease costs for consumers.

By using a combination of advanced robotics and driverless vehicle technology, Kar-Go is designed to autonomously drive on unmarked roads such as residential areas. Unlike many driverless vehicles that are best-suited to main roads and highways, Kar-Go is specifically designed with small, residential side-streets in mind.

The company recently announced it hired award winning designer Paul Burgess who left his role at McLaren to become chief designer at the Academy of Robotics.

The company has developed its own vehicle chassis and proprietary software, and has filed several patents around autonomous vehicle technology and autonomous delivery for more complex logistics environments.

The Academy of Robotics is partnered with UK car manufacturer Pilgrim Motorsports with whom they are working to build the street legal versions of their autonomous vehicles at Pilgrim’s production facility in the UK.

The founder of the Academy of Robotics, William Sachiti said: “It has been 10 months since we closed our last funding round, as costs constantly change, there was a need to raise an additional 70K to take us through production. We reached out to our existing investors and showed them our progress to date and then simply asked them to help close the funding gap. In under six hours we had pledges for over 100K from half a dozen investors. Within 24 hours, pledges reached nearly half a million.“

“Half the formula for a winning start-up is having great investors aligned with it, who react decisively to funding rounds and requests for investment. We are very lucky to have great investors on board who fit into this category. My job is to steer the company in the right direction while also looking after the interests of the existing investors, which is why I only accepted 100K and turned down the rest.

“I am not keen on taking a bunch of money and then subsequently diluting our existing shareholders. In terms of fundraising, we will soon raise a larger round as we roll out and begin trials but there is value in waiting until our prototype is complete. After the prototype is complete, we will be able to raise at a bigger valuation which is much better for the shareholders we have currently.

“Working on Kar-Go has been an incredible collaborative journey between people in four countries, national retailers, logistics companies and our tech partner NVIDIA. We are on the final stretch and can’t wait to show the world what we have all been working on.”

The company was recently mentioned by Richard Branson when asked who he thought might be among the first to put autonomous cars on the UK’s roads. Branson also linked to Kar-Go on his Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

For more information about Kar-Go see: www.academyofrobotics.co.uk and https://youtu.be/9tSSPhGvYKE

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Three services in two days for New Quay RNLI

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NEW QUAY RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called into action three times in two days last week, firstly to a surfer near New Quay while on a training exercise on Thursday evening (17 June), then to a windsurfer in Aberaeron on Friday (18 June) and, while returning to station, a passenger boat in New Quay with a fouled propeller. 

On Thursday evening Dylan Price, New Quay RNLI’s helm was taking crew on a training exercise when they were requested by HM Coastguard to assist a surfer in difficulty in Llanina, near New Quay. Dylan said, “On arrival we found them safe and well so a false alarm with good intent. We then continued with our training which included search patterns, a man overboard scenario and boat handling drills.” 

Next, on Friday afternoon, in a strong northerly wind, the inshore lifeboat was tasked on service once again. Pete Yates, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “We were requested by HM Coastguard to launch our inshore lifeboat at 1.40pm to a windsurfer in difficulty off Aberaeron. We made best speed up the coast in difficult conditions and arrived just as the casualty made it safely ashore, to be met by the New Quay Coastguard team. 

“On returning to New Quay we assisted a passenger boat with a fouled propeller. We were able to free the rope from the propeller and then returned to station. Good outcomes all round! Remember if you see if you see anyone in difficulty or you find yourself in trouble on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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NHS Wales announce first and second dose vaccination walk-in clinics

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Hywel Dda UHB is running walk-in vaccination clinics this week. There is no need to contact the health board to book an appointment and if you have already registered using the health board’s online form, you are still welcome to attend the walk-in clinic.

If you have a scheduled appointment, please keep your appointment time. 

With the rise in cases across the UK it is important that as many people come forward for their first and second vaccines.

First vaccine walk-in clinics for anyone aged 18 and over who hasn’t had their first COVID-19 vaccine yet:

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm.
  • Cardigan (Teifi Leisure Centre SA43 1HG): Friday 25 June, 9.30am to 5pm.
  • Carmarthen (Halliwell Conference Centre, UWTSD, SA31 3EP): Monday 21, Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June, 10am to 8pm

Second vaccine walk-in clinics (please only attend if the centre is giving the same vaccine that you had for your first dose. This information can be found on your vaccine card.)

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 25 April.

If you are unable to attend a walk-in clinic, you can still request your first vaccine by completing this form

To request your second dose please use this request form.

If you or someone you know is unable to use an online form, please contact our booking team on 0300 303 8322.

Important: By travelling to a centre, you accept there is a risk that all vaccines will be allocated before you arrive. If you arrive after all the vaccines are allocated, we will take your contact details and add you to our reserve list.

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Ceredigion RAF Veteran completes 500-mile walk around Scotland for RNLI Mayday

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ROGER PHILLIPS, an RAF veteran, recently completed a 500-mile walk around the north coast of Scotland. Roger, 73, chose to support the RNLI in their Mayday appeal after having survived becoming trapped in his sinking aircraft and nearly drowning in 1973.

After Roger’s dramatic experience, in which he became trapped in a sinking aircraft after it went down in the South China Sea, he chose to support the RNLI to help them continue to help other people who get into trouble in the water. In order to show his admiration for all the work that the RNLI has done over the years and continues to do, he decided to tackle Scotland’s 500 mile long North Coast route as part of the RNLI’s Mayday mile fundraiser.

Roger, from Aberaeron, Ceredigion began his journey from the village of Lochcarron and walked clockwise around the coastline managing to complete the entire 500 miles in 28 days. Despite difficult weather conditions and terrain, Roger still managed to achieve an 20.04 miles on the last day averaging 16 minutes 49 seconds per mile.

Reflecting on the challenge, Roger said: “The most outstanding thing to me was that I finished in Lochcarron and then it took 12 hours to drive home to Aberaeron and even I could not believe that was the same mileage as I had just walked. Put into a straight line the distance became unbelievable.”

Catherine Jones, RNLI Community Manager for North and Mid Wales said: “Throughout the Mayday challenge we have seen countless people show their support for the RNLI in many weird and wonderful ways. Roger’s has completed an amazing feat and raised a brilliant amount that will be essential to the RNLI’s ability to continue keeping people around the coast safe.

“The amount of support we’ve received from people like Roger who have gone above and beyond is truly heart-warming. It is thanks to people like him that our volunteer crews will be able to continue to save lives at sea particularly ahead of this summer which is looking to be one of the busiest ever.”

If you’d like to contribute to Roger’s fundraising efforts or find out more, you can via his Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/walkthe500walkwithRoger

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