AI News, Why Indoor Robots for Commercial Spaces Are the Next Big Thing in Robotics

Why Indoor Robots for Commercial Spaces Are the Next Big Thing in Robotics

Most of this investment has been focused on the usual suspects: logistics, warehouse automation, robot arms for manufacturing, healthcare and surgical robots, drones, agriculture, and autonomous cars.

But after looking into the robotics industry as I set out to launch my own robot company, Cobalt, founded last year and which came out of stealth today, I became convinced thatthere is a new emerging segment about to become one of the fastest-growing in coming years: Autonomous indoor robots for commercial spaces.

These robots sit on opposite ends of the “structured spaces” spectrum: In years past, robots in factories and warehouses required extremely structured environments—essentially, automation engineers modified the environment and kept people at arm’s length so that the robots could perform repetitive tasks in relative isolation.

But there’s a massive, untapped market that sits between these two on the spectrum: Commercial spaces such as hotels, hospitals, offices, retail stores, banks, schools, nursing homes, schools, malls, and museums.

So while billions of dollars are being spent on autonomous vehicles for RD and production at scale, these new applications reap the benefits (tech advances and cost savings) on sensors, computing hardware, algorithms, AI, machine learning, and open-source software.

Why Indoor Robots for Commercial Spaces Are the Next Big Thing in Robotics

Most of this investment has been focused on the usual suspects: logistics, warehouse automation, robot arms for manufacturing, healthcare and surgical robots, drones, agriculture, and autonomous cars.

But after looking into the robotics industry as I set out to launch my own robot company, Cobalt, founded last year and which came out of stealth today, I became convinced that there is a new emerging segment about to become one of the fastest-growing in coming years: Autonomous indoor robots for commercial spaces.

These robots sit on opposite ends of the “structured spaces” spectrum: In years past, robots in factories and warehouses required extremely structured environments—essentially, automation engineers modified the environment and kept people at arm’s length so that the robots could perform repetitive tasks in relative isolation.

But there’s a massive, untapped market that sits between these two on the spectrum: Commercial spaces such as hotels, hospitals, offices, retail stores, banks, schools, nursing homes, schools, malls, and museums.

So while billions of dollars are being spent on autonomous vehicles for RD and production at scale, these new applications reap the benefits (tech advances and cost savings) on sensors, computing hardware, algorithms, AI, machine learning, and open-source software.

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Recent events demonstratethe growing presence of indoor mobile robots: (1) Savioke’s hotel butler robot won the 2017 IERA inventors award;(2) Knightscope’s security robot mistook a reflecting pond for a solid floor and dove in face-first to the delight of Twitterdom and the media;and (3) the sale of robotic hospital delivery provider Aethon to a Singaporean conglomerate.

Travis Deyle, CEO of Silicon Valley startup Cobalt Robotics which is developing indoor robots for security purposes, in an article in IEEE Spectrum, posited that commercial spaces are the next big marketplace for robotics and that there’s a massive, untapped market in each of the commercial spaces shown in his chart below:

while billions are being spent on RD for autonomous vehicles, indoor robots for commercial and public spaces reap the technology and cost benefits on sensors, computing, machine learning, and open-source software.”

Although the chart above focuses on the many applications within the commercial space, there is also much activity in various forms of indoor material handling using mobile robots in warehouses and distribution centers.

Our evaluation led us to conclude that Aethon was the best company in this space having the right technology along with proven success in the commercialization and installation of autonomous mobile robots,”

Toyota's $1 billion AI company will develop self-driving cars and robot helpers

In a press release, Pratt said the company's initial goals are to decrease the likelihood of car accidents, make driving accessible to everyone 'regardless of ability,' and bring extra mobility to the home — 'particularly for the support of seniors.'

'A car that is never responsible for a crash, regardless of the skill of the driver, will allow older people to be able to drive, and help prevent the one and a half million deaths that occur as a result of cars every single year around the world.'

Japan's rapidly aging population is a crisis in the making (the number of over-65s is expected to go from 25 percent to 40 percent in the next 30 years), and there are similar problems facing America (over-65s will be around 20 percent of the US population by 2030).

Toyota has been developing robotic helpers for an aging population for years, including the Human Support Robot or HSR (which features an articulated torso and arm and video calling functionality), and prototype bots for assisted walking and moving people from the bed to the toilet.

Autonomous robot

An autonomous robot performs behaviors or tasks with a high degree of autonomy, which is particularly desirable in fields such as spaceflight, household maintenance (such as cleaning), waste water treatment and delivering goods and services.

Some robotic lawn mowers will adapt their programming by detecting the speed in which grass grows as needed to maintain a perfectly cut lawn, and some vacuum cleaning robots have dirt detectors that sense how much dirt is being picked up and use this information to tell them to stay in one area longer.

Rather than climb stairs, which requires highly specialized hardware, most indoor robots navigate handicapped-accessible areas, controlling elevators, and electronic doors.[2] With such electronic access-control interfaces, robots can now freely navigate indoors.

An autonomous ship was announced in 2014—the Autonomous spaceport drone ship—and is scheduled to make its first operational test in December 2014.[3][needs update] Outdoor autonomy is the most difficult for ground vehicles, due to: The Seekur robot was the first commercially available robot to demonstrate MDARS-like capabilities for general use by airports, utility plants, corrections facilities and Homeland Security.[4] The Mars rovers MER-A and MER-B (now known as Spirit rover and Opportunity rover) can find the position of the sun and navigate their own routes to destinations on the fly by: The planned ESA Rover, ExoMars Rover, is capable of vision based relative localisation and absolute localisation to autonomously navigate safe and efficient trajectories to targets by: During the final NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge in 2016, a rover, named Cataglyphis, successfully demonstrated fully autonomous navigation, decision-making, and sample detection, retrieval, and return capabilities.[5] The rover relied on a fusion of measurements from inertial sensors, wheel encoders, Lidar, and camera for navigation and mapping, instead of using GPS or magnetometers.

As of February 2017 there were several notable companies developing delivery robots (some with pilot deliveries in progress): In March 2016 a bill was introduced in Washington, D.C., allowing pilot ground robotic deliveries.[14] The program was to take place from September 15 through the end of December 2017.

There were allowed only 5 robots to be tested per company at a time.[15] A 2017 version of the Personal Delivery Device Act bill was under review as of March 2017.[16] In February 2017 a bill was passed in the US state of Virginia (the House bill, HB2016,[17] and the Senate bill, SB1207[18]) that will allow autonomous delivery robots to travel on sidewalks and use crosswalks statewide beginning on July 1, 2017.

The robots will be limited to a maximum speed of 10 mph and maximum weight of 50 pounds.[19] In the states of Idaho and Florida there are also talks about passing similar legislature.[20][21] It has been discussed that robots with similar characteristics to invalid carriages (e.g.

If the robot was sufficiently intelligent and able to recharge itself using existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure it would only need minimal supervision and a single arm with low dexterity might be enough to enable this function if its visual systems had enough resolution.

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