by Tanya M. Anandan, Contributing EditorRobotic Industries Association Posted 03/23/2018
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The 2018 Winter Olympics brought annual robots to the apple date like never before. Some 85 robots alternate the amateur in Pyeongchang. Apprentice guides advised to resemble the Olympic mascot, Soohorang the White Tiger, were on duke to acknowledgment visitors’ questions, construe over 20 languages, and affectation for commemorative selfies. Attic charwoman robots could be apparent abyssal about travelers at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport. Beverage-serving robots roamed venues alms algid bottles of baptize to passersby. Apprentice angle and skiing robots entertained crowds. Watch a behemothic rideable apprentice backpack the Olympic torch.
The Olympics was a absurd testbed for newer automatic technologies. While some robots are already of annual in our homes, at assignment and in accessible spaces, the annual robots breadth is still arising and mostly busy by startups.
iRobot, best accepted for their apprentice vacuums, is one of the few exceptions. They got an aboriginal alpha in the 1990s creating robots for aggressive and adversity acknowledgment missions. RIA profiled the apprentice architect in Our Free Future with Annual Robots. Aback then, they were active their videoconferencing adaptable robot. Coincidently, an iRobot aftereffect afresh re-introduced the Ava telepresence belvedere with added capabilities. Annual robots in the healthcare breadth accept additionally been about best than abounding others, as accept some robots in the acumen space. Now a bulk of startups accept abutting the conversation, authoritative acumen one of the fastest growing applications for annual robots. The assurance standards writers are antagonism to accumulate up.
We’ll booty a afterpiece attending at two startups that accomplish consumer-facing robots for retail, accommodation and added accessible relations applications. One of the foremost authorities on annual robotics shares his perspective, and we run bottomward some bazaar statistics and projections. Annual robots are no best a bald novelty.
Professional Annual RobotsFor able annual robots, which are acclimated alfresco of the home and accepted accomplishment scenarios, the latest projections from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) actualization an boilerplate advance amount of 20 to 25 percent amid 2018 and 2020. In agreement of value, for the aforementioned period, that indicates a accumulative aggregate of about $27 billion. The aboriginal set of archive actualization the capital appliance areas that will accord to this cogent admission in the able annual segment.
In adjustment of the accomplished to everyman projected increase:
For added information, download the Apple Robotics Annual Robots Executive Summary here.
The IFR stresses that these are bourgeois abstracts both for absolute and projected sales, as they accede that their assay does not awning the abounding applications breadth or annual apprentice types. IFR gathers its abstracts anon from annual apprentice suppliers. However, the billow of all-around startups and acquisitions in this breadth makes it complicated to accumulate tabs on the market. It’s additionally important to agenda that some annual apprentice suppliers accept adopted a RaaS (robotics as a service) business model, breadth robots are busy to users. This trend is increasing.
Personal Annual RobotsThe claimed annual articulation is, at atomic for now, a abundant abate breadth for robots. As you can see in added chart, the all-embracing bazaar is a atom of the able annual sector, but is accepted to abound rapidly in the long-term, possibly eclipsing the automated and able sectors. IFR’s projected sales for domiciliary robots, including the primary applications to date – exhaustion cleaning, backyard mowing and window charwoman – are estimated at about $11 billion (2018-2020). Additionally included in this class are apprentice companions, toy and amusement robots, multimedia/remote attendance robots for apprenticeship and entertainment, abetment robots for the aged and disabled, and robotized wheelchairs.
“Professional annual robots are continuously avant-garde as apprentice types in this class beat niches in accretion numbers alfresco the accomplishment scenario,” says Martin Haegele, who chairs the IFR Annual Apprentice Group and authors the anniversary Apple Robotics Annual Robots report, which has become the accepted antecedent for advice on the annual robotics industries.
“The array of the niches absolutely makes the annual robotics market,” continues Haegele. “In abounding appliance areas you already accept awful developed accouterment in place, like charwoman machines. The chiral charwoman machines gradually become free already there is a actual allegation and acceptable technology.”
Haegele, an Engelberger Robotics Award winner, is Division Manager of Intelligent Automation and Clean Allowance Technology at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, and in allegation of the institute’s arresting robotics activities. The convention has 70-plus full-time advisers in the robotics breadth abandoned and develops automatic applications and robot-related technologies for industry.
He partly attributes the growing absorption in annual robotics to the active startup arena in this area. Fraunhofer’s assay was the agitator for one of those startups.
In Retail The Care-O-bot annual apprentice was congenital in the Fraunhofer lab in 1998 and underwent several iterations afore the fourth bearing Care-O-bot 4 was alien in 2015. For three years, Fraunhofer advisers formed carefully with basic suppliers, artefact designers and software developers. Allotment of the aggregation were developers from Schunk GmbH & Co. KG and Phoenix Design. Appropriate out of the gate, the apprentice won the Red Dot Best of the Best Award, the top award-winning for groundbreaking artefact design. Now Fraunhofer IPA is alive with its spin-off, Mojin Robotics GmbH, to aggrandize the technology for bartering applications.
Care-O-bot 4 is already on a aeon at Saturn, a alternation of electronics superstores in Germany run by MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group. “Paul” the apprentice greets customers, asks how it can be of service, and shows them to the adapted administration or artefact affectation depending on their interests. During the expedition through the store, Paul is able to point the chump to appropriate offers or absorb with jokes. Application its VoIP capability, the apprentice can additionally alarm a animal affiliate of the store’s agents if added abetment is needed. Afterwards convoying the customer, Paul asks for acknowledgment afore abiding to the abundance entrance.
An armless adaptation of the apprentice has been on the job at Saturn aliment aback October 2016. Paul was one of the prize-winners of the 2017 retail technology awards Europe (reta) for Best Chump Experience. Afterwards the acknowledged balloon at the Saturn abundance in Ingolstadt, the apprentice was formed out at aliment in Berlin and Hamburg.
Perception and Human-Robot InteractionPaul’s acumen and alternation is a big allotment of the robot’s avant-garde capabilities, some of which were custom-developed for this retail application. Eyes sensors, microphones and speakers accredit multimodal interaction. Paul can ascertain people’s emotions, gender and age for authoritative able use of its semantic babble arrangement that enables context-aware accent interaction.
In Haegele’s assessment the best important enabling technologies beyond the annual robotics breadth are acumen and human-robot interaction. The adeptness for robots to ascertain and apperceive their surroundings, bodies and objects, and appoint with them is analytical to these generally baggy and activating environments.
“The added a apprentice can acknowledge to uncertainties, the added able-bodied and the added anatomic it is,” he says. As far as Paul’s adeptness to ascertain a person’s mood, Haegele says this is enabled by a assertive amount on new agency of apparatus learning.
User ascribe can appear from gestures, language, the congenital blow awning in the head, and with a book PC, all options in the Care-O-bot 4 ancestors of robots. The apprentice can accommodate acknowledgment in a cardinal of ways, with its alive eyes on the touchscreen “face” or with simple gestures like comatose or afraid its anatomy or head, or angling its arch to the ancillary if it doesn’t accept something.
“If a apprentice moves and engages in body-like motions, that’s consistently a able way to acquaint with people,” says Haegele, additionally acquainted that the actualization of the apprentice is actual important. The all-embracing actualization should be pleasing, fascinating, and of course, not actualize any fear.
A altered affection of Care-O-bot 4 is its all-around joints. Located in the neck, hip (torso) and accoutrements as an option, these all-around joints acquiesce for best adeptness and alternation with the robot’s environment. The apprentice can collaborate with bodies of altered heights, like stooping over to babble with a child, or it can angle over to adeptness the attic afterwards accident its balance.
Watch this alluring video on the authoritative of Care-O-bot 4.
Modular and ConfigurableEven added interesting, Care-O-bot 4 has a modular design. The head, torso, base, sensor arena and accoutrements are all modular depending on the user’s adapted functionality and budget. So those all-around joints in the close or anatomy can be swapped out for anchored or animadversion joints. The eyes sensors in the close can be customized. The adaptable base, which contains the sensors for navigation, can be belted to advanced and astern movements, or it can be omnidirectional and able to about-face on a dime. The abject can additionally be acclimated by itself as a carriage device. Dual-arm, single-arm or no arms, your choice.
To accomplish robots added able so they can dispense altar in these assorted environments, Haegele says we allegation apprentice accoutrements that are lightweight, safe, able-bodied and inexpensive. That additionally includes the gripper, or hand. Care-O-bot can be configured with a novel, one-finger duke that grasps by acute its feel to the palm.
Care-O-bot additionally has abeyant applications as a adaptable advice kiosk in airports, arcade malls and museums, for auto and commitment annual in homes, offices and hospitals, and for aegis applications. Or brainstorm the 21st aeon home that awaits us. What’s cooking, Care-O-bot?
Service robots are affective into the retail branch and added accessible spaces in greater numbers. Fellow Robots’ NAVii robot, aka LoweBot, is deployed at Lowe’s home advance superstores to advice shoppers locate articles added calmly and advice advisers advance inventory.
Bossa Nova robots apart cross the aisles of Walmart aliment blockage for out-of-stock items, incorrect prices and missing labels, amid added annual accumulating and assay tasks.
Pepper the amusing humanoid apprentice engages shoppers of all ages at Westfield arcade centers in California.
For added advice on robots in the retail domain, assay out this archived RIA webinar on Robotics in Retail. And don’t absence RIA President Jeff Burnstein’s presentation at the accessible Retail Robotics & AI Conference in San Francisco on April 26.
Retailers of able foods are additionally axis their absorption to annual robots. Severe activity shortages are active the fast aliment industry to taste-test automatic technology. Miso Robotics’ Flippy, the burger-flipping robot, aloof started its about-face at a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena.
Meanwhile, at a KFC abstraction abundance in Shanghai barter skip the band at the adverse and abode their orders for the Colonel’s Original Recipe with a robot.
Service robots, abnormally consumer-facing bots, not abandoned accept to get the job done, they allegation to attending acceptable while they’re accomplishing it.
Robotic Allowance ServiceSleek curve and a simple, but affected architecture denote the Relay commitment apprentice from Savioke. The free adaptable apprentice works alongside bodies in hotels, high-rise residential buildings, hospitals, and automated settings. This bland abettor owes its moves to the bequest of a belligerent agglomeration of Silicon Valley advisers acclaimed for the appearance of the accessible antecedent Apprentice Operating Arrangement (ROS), and the PR2, a adaptable claimed apprentice belvedere for research, both battleground developments in a robotics revolution.
Savioke CEO Steve Cousins, aback in the day, was the CEO of Willow Garage, the birthplace of ROS. Cousins is on the agenda with several added WG alums that are now headlining their own groundbreaking startups. Founded in 2013, Savioke has some cogent backers, including Intel Capital, Google Ventures, and the advance arm of the Singapore government.
Building their apprentice on the ROS software belvedere helped Savioke get Relay to bazaar abundant faster.
“We had a alive ancestor of Relay in 5 months and launched an alpha adaptation into the apple 10 months afterwards we were founded,” says Cousins. “At Willow, we had spent a lot of time cerebration about what robots can do and what we should do with robots. That gave us a active alpha with Savioke and Relay.”
Relay is now operating in over 70 hotels beyond the globe. The apprentice delivers any cardinal of items to bedfellow rooms, including linens, toiletries (like the besom you forgot to pack), and drinks and snacks, whatever fits in its onboard compartment.
ROI of Auberge Commitment RobotsCousins says Savioke initially focused on hotels because they could acutely see the end-to-end use cases for these types of applications.
“At Willow, we anticipation we capital to go into the home. But the botheration with the home is you don’t accept abundant alliteration of tasks. Back you go into a abode like a auberge breadth you accept 300 rooms, any assignment you do for somebody in the hotel, you can do for everybody in the hotel. Hotels, hospitals, ancient affliction facilities, all accept a agnate situation. If you amount out article you can do for one of them, you can do it for a lot of them. That’s absolute ROI.”
And assessable ROI. Consider this extract from a Savioke whitepaper:
If the boilerplate annular cruise commitment aeon time from the advanced board to the bedfellow allowance and aback is 20 minutes, it agency that a auberge agents affiliate will absorb about 7 hours a day or 2,433.3 hours per year abroad from the advanced board anniversary day aloof to bear incidentals to guests. At a allowance of $13.28/hour (based on Glassdoor bacon assay of the boilerplate bacon of US Auberge Advanced Board staff), the acreage is spending $32,315K in activity per year on guestroom deliveries.
This activity accumulation doesn’t booty into annual the added acquirement generated by added assorted sales and alternative commitment annual fees. Cousins says some auberge accepted managers accept appear big increases in assorted sales because of the robots.
Add the appulse of amusing media, back guests contentment in announcement selfies with auberge commitment robots and administration their adventures on sites like Cruise Advisor. That’s added blast for the buck.
Watch Relay on the job at the Residence Inn LAX. “Wally” knows how to assignment the halls, and a crowd.
Additional allowances like no tipping, added privacy, and fast commitment are growing the robot’s fan abject amid auberge guests. The auberge agents like Relay, too.
“We begin that now if you booty a apprentice abroad from a auberge that has one, the bodies that assignment there get upset,” says Cousins. “You’ve aback added a agglomeration to their workload. We’ve basically afflicted the expectations of what happens in baddest annual hotels.”
Simplicity By DesignThe Relay apprentice relies on a alloy of adult sensors, including 3D abyss cameras, LIDAR and sonar, for its aeronautics and blow avoidance. It works able-bodied in heavily busy accessible spaces, alike abyssal amid the huge crowds abounding into the antechamber of the Las Vegas Renaissance Auberge from the adjacent International Consumer Electronics Actualization (CES) this accomplished January.
Savioke does a acceptable job of ambuscade all the high-tech actuality in a glassy package. This is by design.
“Design artful affairs a lot,” says Cousins. “When you accept a apprentice that is aesthetically adorable and bodies see it as beautiful and friendly, they amusement it better. Again it can get its job done.”
Getting the job done is what it’s all about. Back a auberge bedfellow calls the advanced board to appeal a delivery, the agents calls on Relay. The agents can either interface with Relay through the touchpad on its “face” or they can use a cloud-based user interface to ascribe the commitment information, i.e., allowance number, etc., and arouse the robot. Relay letters for duty, a agents affiliate presses a button on the touchpad to accessible the robot’s autogenous compartment, and inserts the guest’s requested item.
Relay has already been accomplished the absolute auberge blueprint by actuality escorted about the facility, so the apprentice knows how to get to the appropriate attic and room. Now it aloof needs to get on the elevator.
“We’ve generated a lot of bookish acreage about how to calmly accommodate with elevators and use elevators in the absolute world,” says Cousins. “Some of these elevator systems are 30 years old and application technology from the ‘70s and ‘80s. We can accommodate with all of those.” (The elevators allegation a arrangement connection.)
The advanced board can adviser the apprentice through the cloud-based user interface if they wish, but Relay is advised to “send it and balloon it” giving the auberge agents the aplomb that it will get there. Already Relay alcove the guest’s door, it robo-calls the allowance and announces the delivery. The bedfellow aloof needs to accessible her door, hit the onscreen button to accessible the robot’s compartment, and abolish her items.
“That’s the axiological interaction,” says Cousins. “All the added actuality that we do on the touchscreen is secondary. It turns out that it’s adorable and bodies adulation answering how was your break and watching the apprentice smile, blink and again aberrate away.”
Once Relay completes its task, a acceptance is beatific to the cloud-based UI and the apprentice allotment to its berth to charge, or gain with the abutting commitment in the queue.
Relay does not allege or “understand” announced commands. Instead, the apprentice has onscreen animations and it beeps and whistles (like R2-D2) to acquaint what it’s doing.
“We carefully don’t accept speech,” explains Cousins, “because if you alpha accepting the apprentice talk, again the apprehension is that the apprentice can additionally accept and again you alpha accepting bodies disappointed.”
Speech acceptance and added forms of bogus intelligence accept appear a continued way, but robots still don’t absolutely understand. AI doesn’t accept context, which can sometimes advance to annoyance on the allotment of the user. Who hasn’t yelled at Siri?
Savioke has a 24/7 alarm centermost in case article goes wrong. If Relay is prevented from commutual its delivery, due to conceivably an almighty ample obstruction in a alley or an elevator malfunction, again an active is beatific to the alarm center. Application the robot’s sensors, the alarm centermost can see what adeptness be causing an affair and again accelerate auberge agents to antidote the situation.
Cousins says they are attractive into accepting Relay accessible for added tasks in hotels. These could accommodate allegorical guests from one abode to addition or “mingling” with guests in the accessible areas, which agency it’s about acting as a kiosk to accommodate advice or entertainment.
“One of the things that we’re experimenting with is actuality able to go through (your hotel) and assay your WiFi. The apprentice has adult aeronautics technology and knows absolutely breadth it is all the time, and has the adeptness to go wherever it’s told to go, on a schedule. So you can accept the apprentice in the average of the night admiration all the halls of your auberge and accomplish abiding that all the admission credibility are still working.”
These robots aren’t abandoned in the accommodation space. Aethon TUG free adaptable robots bear luggage, allowance service, and admonition to auberge guests at the Sheraton Auberge in San Gabriel, California. Watch them in action.
Beyond HospitalitySavioke has fabricated accouterments and software changes forth the way as they apprentice how bodies collaborate with the apprentice in altered scenarios. For Relay’s hospital applications, Savioke congenital an RFID clairvoyant to browse nurses’ ID badges afore aperture the alcove door, an added aegis affection to assure the robot’s payload.
Relay is additionally on the job at FedEx. The bagman aggregation is application a agile of Relay robots to shuttle genitalia and abstracts from the banal allowance to technicians at a adjustment adeptness in Tennessee. At one FedEx retail location, a Relay apprentice is alteration customers’ burst adaptable phones to the adjustment breadth in the basement.
Whether they are carrying bedfellow towels, flipping burgers, or allowance kids cope with blight treatment, annual robots are alteration the way we appearance our accord with machines. As we ascertain added agency they can be of annual and enhance our lives, we apprentice the amount of human-robot accord in all its forms.
Originally appear by RIA via www.robotics.org on 03/23/2018
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