The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted one of the top business risks: a shortage of workers. The Guardian conducted a survey among large business owners – 41% of directors invest in robots that will replace the person. The very same robotization of enterprises will pay off in 3-5 years and reduce the risks of businessmen.
We will tell you where modern robots are used and what they can do. Let’s not talk about automatic conveyor lines and stationary robots – they are boring.
Patrol robot in the park
The Singapore authorities have opened the city park Bishan-Ang Mo Kyo to the public with one rule: visitors maintain a safe distance. Authorities are using Boston Dynamics’ SPOT robot dog to remind park visitors of the importance of distancing.
Cameras and a loudspeaker were installed on the robot dog. If the robot sees that people are too close to each other, it approaches them and asks them to disperse. The SPOT robot dog works for 90 minutes on a single charge, so an observer with a spare battery walks with it.
The Singaporean authorities said that they chose the robot dog because of the presence of legs: SPOT walks on the grass and climbs stairs, but robots on wheels cannot do that. The SPOT robot passed a two-week test and remained in the park as a patrol.
In addition to the dog, the Singapore authorities are using 30 drones to patrol parks during the pandemic. In the future, robots will be able to keep order in public places and prevent minor violations.
Robot builder and rescuer
The Russian company Intechros has developed a tracked robot ROIN. The robot is designed for rescue operations, construction and demolition of buildings in hazardous conditions. ROIN width – 75 cm, height – 180 cm.
A hydraulic tool such as a jackhammer or manipulator is attached to the tracked platform. The hydraulics are powered by a gasoline generator. Control – from the remote control. For indoor work there is a remote control with a screen.
The main function of the robot is to dismantle buildings. According to the State Statistics Service, 84% of accidents in the construction industry occur during dismantling. The ROIN robot will replace a person in hazardous areas and will perform work faster. At spot works, ROIN will cope better than special equipment: it will pass through the doors and take an elevator to where an ordinary excavator cannot reach.
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The ROIN robot can be used for rescue operations: disassemble rubble, pave a path in smoky rooms, extinguish fires. There are large versions of ROIN: robots trains for railway works, robots for installation on a car.
In the future, demolition robots will be able to replace humans in hazardous jobs. The obvious solution is robotic miners that work in all conditions.
Robot automatic harvester
In the movie Interstellar, the protagonists grew corn using unmanned harvesters. There are such harvesters in real life: they build a route using GPS and take into account the location of other equipment.
GPS requires a constant connection to satellites and accurate positioning. A positioning error of 30 cm may result in a collision with an obstacle. Cognitive Technologies moved away from GPS and developed self-learning artificial intelligence for managing agricultural machinery.
The Cognitive Agro Pilot can be integrated into any modern combine harvester. To do this, you need to install a camera, a processor unit and a combine control kit on the combine. The autopilot is triggered by the driver’s command. AI determines the trajectory of movement, adjusts the position and speed of rotation of the header and bends around obstacles.
During the harvest season, Argo Pilot saves up to 300,000 rubles on one combine: the autopilot spends less fuel and cleans better than a human. The system is used by farms in the USA, China, Russia and Brazil.
Farmers of the future will be able to manage the farm from the office, and the farm itself will work around the clock.
Aurora Robotics makes Agrobot unmanned tractors. You can hook up any attachments to them: trailers, harrows, automatic seeders, mowers and more. Agrobot is equipped with night vision cameras so that it can see and operate at night, in fog or smoke.
Agrobot itself is a body with a computer and hydraulic drives to control the tractor. This body can be installed on any modern wheeled tractor. You need to control the tractor from the tablet: you can completely control the tractor as in the game or set up autonomous work according to the plan.
Aurora Robotics believes autonomous tractors will increase farmers’ profits through 24/7 operation. Agrobot can perform routine work overnight, which will take 2-3 days for a tractor with a driver. It can mow grass, loosen the ground and clear snow along a predetermined route. Under human supervision, Agrobot can plant grain and vegetables, tend the crops and harvest.
Unmanned delivery with a robot drone
An online store Amazon is testing the ability to deliver small parcels using unmanned aerial vehicles – drones. For this, Amazon has developed its own drone with 8 propellers and a massive aerodynamic frame. On a single charge, the drone can fly 25 km and deliver cargo weighing up to 2.2 kg.
The Chinese company Neolix has started to produce unmanned delivery vehicles on wheels. The robot looks like a small car. On one side of the delivery man there are two dozen bins with secure doors, on the other there are two large bins for the delivery of large items. To pick up the order, you need to confirm the delivery in a special application: the robot will open the cell and allow you to pick up the box.
Neolix plans to create several more types of robots on the same base. For example, an armored cash-in-transit robot with compartments for money and a seller robot with a built-in vending machine. There are plans for a robotic police officer to patrol the streets and transmit images from cameras to the police station.
The robot on wheels has a drawback: it cannot climb the stairs to deliver the package to the doorstep. So Ford came up with the Digit, a two-legged delivery robot. The robot works in tandem with an unmanned taxi: the car drives Digit to the desired house, Digit picks up the box from the trunk and delivers it to the door. Digit climbs stairs and can deliver orders to apartment buildings, Ford said.
Delivery robots will help improve logistics and speed up delivery security. For example, flying drones will deliver packages to multi-storey buildings, and robotic porters like Digit will carry heavy objects into the house.
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Robot consultant in a store
Many companies make such robots: Promobot, JJRC, Novarobot, AlfaRobotics, Accenture and others. The robot consultants move on wheels, as they do not leave the premises. The upper part of the robot consultant has a built-in screen for showing information to the visitor, a terminal for payment, speakers, a microphone and cameras.
Most of the robot consultants work as mobile stands. The most advanced models understand speech, can answer a question to the visitor or show a direction with their hand.
Nowadays, robot consultants are used more for advertising than for business. In future robot man will be able to replace people where you need to constantly communicate with visitors.
For example, the Promobot company offers the customer to assemble the robot himself and connect the necessary modules to it. The Promobot robot can act as a consultant, promoter, concierge, guide and administrator. The built-in software understands speech in 10 languages and memorizes up to 1000 faces. In connection with the pandemic, robots with temperature scanners have appeared that help identify patients with coronavirus.
Robots-consultants will help improve the quality of service, speed up the process of buying and paying for goods.
Cleaning of premises with robots
Home robot vacuum cleaners have been around for 18 years. During this time, Tidybot, Fybots, and Avidbots have developed industrial cleaning robots. The height of industrial robots is 1 meter, the battery lasts for 2-4 hours of operation. Such robots wash and polish floors, remove large debris and spilled liquids.
Avidbots Neo – Intelligent Robot
For example, logistics company DHL uses Avidbots Neo robots in its warehouses. The robot is designed for autonomous 24/7 operation:
- changes the water in the tanks;
- cleans brushes;
- changes the battery instead of standing for 4 hours on the charging base.
For one charge, the Avidbots Neo robot can clean up to 1,500 square meters. Artificial intelligence Neo selects the cleaning route so as not to interfere with people to work. When a large unfamiliar object is detected on the floor, the robot reports this to the control panel and goes to clean in another place. Due to the pandemic, manufacturers of cleaning robots are developing modules to disinfect floors.
Cleaning robots will reduce the cost of maintaining cleanliness in large facilities. They can also be used for disinfection and cleaning of premises in hospitals, laboratories, hazardous enterprises.
Power line diagnostics by robots
The Russian company Laboratory of the Future has developed the Rope Walker quadcopter for diagnostics and repair of wires. The operator directs the robot to the power line, and the Rope Walker independently sits on the wires and starts diagnostics.
Advantages of the Rope Walker:
- no need to de-energize the wires for diagnostics;
- no risk to humans;
- efficiency of work, since there is no need to adjust special equipment and lift a person to the height of the power line.
In the process of diagnostics, the robot moves along the cable and detects such problems: breaks, damage to insulation, the state of nodes and supports. The Rope Walker can repair damaged insulation on its own. During the diagnostic process, it is charged from the high-voltage line as if it were wireless charging.
Repair drones will help you fix electrical wiring in hard-to-reach places. It is cheaper and faster to send a specialist with a drone to the site than a car with an arrow and a cradle.
The Russian company SMP Robotics has created a security robot called Traral Patrol. It is a small four-wheeled robot with a night vision camera, sensitive microphone, gas, smoke and fire sensors. The robot can be programmed to patrol the territory or premises.
Trawl Patrol at the facility. The pipe on top is a 360 ° camera
During patrolling, the robot informs the operator about people at the guarded object, about loud noises and other potentially dangerous events. Also Traral Patrol constantly transmits images from cameras to the security console.
Trawl Patrol works up to 4 hours on a single charge, the chassis allows you to transport additional cargo up to 30 kg. It can be loaded with additional batteries or other payloads such as fire extinguishers.
Similar security robots operate in Japan, the UAE and the United States. Such robots will be able to be on duty around the clock and identify hazards faster than humans.
There are two types of medical robots: simulators that can be used to train emergency assistance, and rehabilitation systems. Rehabilitation systems are variable power exoskeletons that help patients restore limb motility after injury.
ExoAtlet makes exoskeletons for leg rehabilitation. The exoskeleton takes on some of the body’s weight and teaches the patient to walk. Using a tablet, the doctor can adjust the power of the exoskeleton drives depending on the patient’s condition. For example, if the patient has difficulty moving one leg, the exoskeleton can be programmed to provide zero assistance for the healthy leg and full assistance for the patient.
There is also a version of ExoAtlet with a corset to support the back. It is used for the rehabilitation of patients with cerebral palsy, spine injuries and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
The exoskeleton for adults weighs 32 kg, for children – 24 kg. The ExoAtlet can operate for up to 5 hours on a single charge, depending on the degree of patient care.
Medical robots and exoskeletons will help patients live a fulfilling life. The patient will no longer be tied to a bed or wheelchair …
Modern robots are needed for the following purposes:
- reduce human risks in hazardous work;
- replace a person with boring routine jobs;
- increase profits by automating routine processes.
Robots can be tailored for any job that doesn’t require complex decisions. Most robots consist of a movable platform for movement and an additional platform with working equipment.
In modern robotics do not use powerful artificial intelligence or self-learning programs. Relatively simple programs are enough for robots to move along a given route and perform simple actions.
The main problem of modern robots is weak power supplies for 2-4 hours of battery life. Some manufacturers are solving the problem by hot swapping batteries, and autonomous agricultural machinery manufacturers use an internal combustion engine as an electric generator. Until scientists come up with compact and powerful batteries, we will not see fast robots with great functionality.
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