SensorSurf - Data infra for robotics

SensorSurf: Revolutionizing Sensor Data Management for Robotics

As technology continues to evolve, the amount of data generated by robots is increasing at an exponential rate. Robotics companies are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and collect data, leading to higher costs for building data infrastructure in-house. Enter SensorSurf - a San Francisco-based start-up that provides a platform for wrangling petabytes of data collected from camera, lidar, and more.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at SensorSurf, the problem it solves, and how it works. We'll also delve into the founder's background and the company's notable features.

Who is the founder of SensorSurf, and what inspired him to create the company?

Alec Bell is the founder of SensorSurf. He got his start in entrepreneurship at just eight years old when he grew a blog about Club Penguin to 250,000 visitors. Since then, Alec has worked on various other projects, but it was his passion for robotics and machine learning that inspired him to create SensorSurf.

In an interview, Alec stated, "I love robots, and I’m writing software to make it easier to build them." Alec's passion for robotics and machine learning is the driving force behind SensorSurf's innovative platform.

What problem does SensorSurf solve for robotics companies?

Robots produce a tremendous amount of data. For instance, a single self-driving car can produce up to 1.5 petabytes of data per year. Developers need access to this data to diagnose issues, train models, and run simulations. However, it's challenging to collect and manage all of the data since it's often clunky and sits on an edge device.

Furthermore, building data infrastructure in-house is extremely costly for robotics companies. Therefore, the need for an easy-to-use, cost-effective solution to manage data generated by robots is increasingly pressing.

How does SensorSurf work?

SensorSurf provides the infrastructure to collect, offload, and make use of sensor data. Users can specify where, when, and what data to collect. From there, they can selectively offload it, run queries on it, visualize it, and put it to work for purposes like debugging, annotation, and analytics.

Robotic companies install a tiny agent on their robots, which allows SensorSurf to establish a connection to the services and observe their system. The company can then collect data across a fleet of robots and help users manage and search it in the cloud, accounting for network constraints that customers may experience.

What are some of SensorSurf's noteworthy features?

Event-based data collection is one of SensorSurf's most noteworthy features. Users can specify the events they want to trigger data collection, such as a specific time of day or when the robot reaches a specific location. This feature is essential for managing data generated by robots that operate in the field.

Rolling buffers/windows of data is another feature that sets SensorSurf apart from the competition. This feature allows users to collect data in real-time, using rolling windows of data. This feature is particularly useful for debugging or identifying issues with the robots in real-time.

Data streaming for visualization is another notable feature that allows users to visualize the data generated by their robots in real-time. This feature is particularly useful for identifying patterns in the data or for identifying issues that may be affecting the robot's performance.

What are some of SensorSurf's success stories?

SensorSurf has already made significant strides in the robotics industry, despite being a relatively new startup. One of its notable success stories is its partnership with Fox Robotics, which is using the platform to train its autonomous farm robots to detect and assist humans. By leveraging SensorSurf's infrastructure, Fox Robotics can easily collect, offload, and make use of the massive amounts of data generated by its robots.

In addition, SensorSurf's platform has also helped companies reduce their data infrastructure costs by providing a cost-effective solution for collecting, managing, and analyzing sensor data. This is a significant advantage for smaller companies and startups that don't have the resources to build their own data infrastructure.

Another success story for SensorSurf is its recent acceptance into the prestigious Y Combinator program, a startup accelerator that has launched some of the most successful companies in the world, including Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe. Being part of this program provides SensorSurf with access to mentorship, funding, and a network of successful entrepreneurs, which can help the company grow and achieve its goals.

What is SensorSurf's long-term vision?

SensorSurf's long-term vision is to become the go-to platform for companies that collect and manage sensor data. The company aims to provide a comprehensive solution that can be customized to fit the unique needs of each client.

As the robotics industry continues to grow and evolve, there will be an increasing demand for companies to manage the massive amounts of data generated by their machines. SensorSurf aims to fill this gap by providing a simple and cost-effective solution that enables companies to offload, manage, and analyze their data in the cloud.

In the long run, SensorSurf also plans to expand its services to other industries that collect and manage sensor data, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and industrial IoT. By leveraging its expertise in robotics and machine learning, SensorSurf believes it can provide value to a wide range of clients across different industries.


In conclusion, SensorSurf is a promising startup that provides a simple and cost-effective solution for companies that collect and manage sensor data. By offering a platform that enables companies to easily offload, manage, and analyze their data, SensorSurf is helping to reduce the costs and complexity of data infrastructure.

With its unique expertise in robotics and machine learning, SensorSurf is well-positioned to become a leader in the industry and help companies achieve their goals. Its partnership with Fox Robotics, acceptance into Y Combinator, and long-term vision all point to a bright future for the company.

As the demand for robotics and IoT solutions continues to grow, SensorSurf's platform is likely to become an essential tool for companies across different industries. With its innovative approach and strong leadership, SensorSurf is definitely a startup to watch out for in the coming years.