AI News, What 17 Prominent Roboticists Think Google Should Do With Its Robots
- On Sunday, February 11, 2018
- By Read More
What 17 Prominent Roboticists Think Google Should Do With Its Robots
These days, whenever a group of roboticists gets together to talk shop, the subject almost inevitably turns to Google and its secretive robotics division.
Google’s roboticsdivision, which has some of the world’s brightest robotics engineers and some of the most advanced robotics hardware ever built, has been working quietly at various secluded locations in California, Massachusetts, and Tokyo, and details about their plans have been scarce.
“We’re now looking at the great technology work the teams have done so far, defining some specific real-world problems in which robotics could help, and trying to frame moonshots to address them.
Sorry, but I have no idea about Google.”) And despite our prodding for respondents to dream up wild ideas, no one suggested anything too crazy (Meka-BigDog hybrid centaur robot to deliver mail, anyone?).
I’d do the same with the rest of robotics: Make a cloud storage for robotics systems with great tools such as TensorFlow deep neural network engine, but with great debug, network tuning visualization tools, guarantee of data integrity and uptime, ease of scaling, and so forth.
Offer all the other Google services: speech, maps, chat, mail, image recognition, adsense (imagine a robot cart in a supermarket that can offer you coupons to switch brands as you buy them), and add the above ability to buy and sell all in ways that can work with new robots in homes and businesses.
Play to your strengths, business rule #1.” “There are many exciting robotics application areas like logistics (industry, order fulfillment, hospitals, hospitality), home bots, surgery, etc.
but I think a better match is software: Take ROS to the next level (as an on-board OS, plus cloud components for AI, learning, perception, skill sharing, etc.) as an open source, transformative enabler for the nascent robotics industry, and reap the benefits.
As for mobile/legged robotics, the place I believe they have the best chance of having impact in the near term is in Disney Parks—we have lots of legged characters that are anxious to come alive in our parks across the world right now.
New types of home robots have a lot of potential to generate new data about use patterns for occupants of homes that will allow companies to build new services, help homeownerssave electricity, and do certain functions (e.g.
Especially if it’spossible to combine these applications with autonomous capabilities developed at Schaft.” “Google has a balance sheet most startups can only dream of, experience with mass production of consumer products, excellent videoconferencing software, significant brand equity with consumers, low-cost and low-power SLAM systems, and incredibly effective facial and speech recognition systems.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily use the entire spectrum of robotics technology and team they brought in to their company a few years ago nor would it make privacy advocates feel particularly at ease, but it does open the door for robotics to be truly commonplace in day-to-day life.” “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information.
While this distinction may not be important in autonomous drones and self-driving cars, it is a major problem in tasks that require physical interaction (e.g., contact) with the real world.
So think of any of the wide range of applications that require robots to operate on the manufacturing shop floor, in warehouses, in automated storage and retrieval systems, in military logistics operations (which by the way is a huge fraction of the cost for our DoD), and in maintenance in power plants and reactor buildings—you need BD-like solutions.
[About the other Google robot companies], I agree with Gary Bradski when he says Industrial Perception technology is a ‘ladder to many moons’: warehouse robots, tending stores (we are working with Walgreens for this), home robots for the elderly (which I firmly believe we’ll have in five to 10 years), robots helping hotel guests (Savioke is already doing this).
But if I were in charge, I would take BD and Industrial Perception and target the applications I talked about above.” “If I were a large company with deep pockets, I would accept that robotics is what is called a ‘formative’ market and just like shopping on the web, it will take a decade or so to ramp up.
However, robots have to be extremely reliable and the software customizable enough to allow the end-users to tinker and adapt the robots, so that the end-user can find the ‘killer app.’ Essentially, you can crowdsource the task offinding the best, most profitable uses of robots, but only if you have good enough robots that can be reconfigure easily and the software is open enough.
I would concentrate on creating generic ground, aerial, and marine robots with customizable software and user interfaces in order to enable their regular employees (and customers) to figure out the best uses.
In order to make sure the development was pushing towards the most reliable, reconfigurable, and open robots possible, I suggest the developers focus on the emergency response domain.
Focusing on emergency management would also have a positive societal benefit.” “Shortly after Google bought these robotics companies, I had discussions with many colleagues from academia, industry, and government about what they thought Google was going to do.
I was (pleasantly) surprised to see the latest Atlas perform material-handling tasks by lifting and carrying boxes.” “There is a vast canyon between what gets views on YouTube and what makes money in the robot business.
Yes, we can ‘lab robot’ the heck out of any demo, but put in the field and robots like humanoids are rather flat-footed, literally, and show little hope let alone a palatable cost model.
That’s not saying that a technology like a humanoid robot couldn’t find a multi-million dollar per unit market, but the robot sure as hell better work really well.
In order to get ‘doors that open like this, and not like this,’ the trick is not to sell the whole humanoid, because it’s worth far more if you focus on the technologies that make up that humanoid.
Well, here at HMI, the case was clear and we’re tackling it already, but I’d point them all in the direction of a multi-trillion dollar oil and gas market that really hasn’t seen any robot innovation for… well… never, and a market that is currently very open to adopting robotic solutions.
If I was going to guess, Google is far more interested in becoming the data protocol of choice for IoT (allowing various robots/sensors/machines to communicate over networks) as opposed to making specific hardware.
[About Boston Dynamics,] if you acquire a humanoid robot company, you shouldn’t be surprised they produce (awesome) videos of humanoid robots that might worry some people and raise questions about robots and jobs.
There are over 6 million people in the United States alone who are in need of assistive care and whose quality and dignity of life depends crucially on caregivers (who are increasingly harder to find and expensive to employ).
I’d start with socially interactive robots, so that all complexity of the robot is hidden, and the robot uses speech, emotions, and gestures to easily and intuitively communicate and provide information.
The idea is usingmultiple autonomous mobile robots to performservice tasks like transporting things, mapping and monitoring the environment, and providing information to humans as well as guiding themthrough our indoor spaces.
We were able toaccomplishthat by adopting novel approaches, such as our concept ofsymbiotic autonomy, in which the robots are aware of their perceptual, physical, and reasoning limitations and proactively ask humans for help.
For example, if a robot is delivering mail, it will ask a person to put the papersinto its basket, or if it’s going to another floor in the building, it will ask a person to push the elevator buttons.
- On Sunday, January 20, 2019
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