Home » RIA Discusses Growing Trends in Service Robots
RIA Discusses Growing Trends in Service Robots
March 30, 2018
The 2018 Winter Olympics brought service robots to the world stage like never before. Some 85 robots punctuated the games in Pyeongchang. Robot guides designed to resemble the Olympic mascot, Soohorang the White Tiger, were on hand to answer visitors’ questions, translate over 20 languages, and pose for commemorative selfies. Floor cleaning robots could be seen navigating around travelers at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport. Beverage-serving robots roamed venues offering cold bottles of water to passersby. Robot fish and skiing robots entertained crowds. A giant rideable robot even carried the Olympic torch.
iRobot, best known for their robot vacuums, is one of the few exceptions. They got an early start in the 1990s creating robots for military and disaster response missions. RIA profiled the robot manufacturer in Our Autonomous Future with Service Robots. Back then, they were plugging their videoconferencing mobile robot. Coincidently, an iRobot spin-off recently re-introduced the Ava telepresence platform with enhanced capabilities. Service robots in the healthcare sector have also been around longer than many others, as have some robots in the logistics space. Now a slew of startups have joined the conversation, making logistics one of the fastest growing applications for service robots. The safety standards writers are racing to keep up.
“Professional service robots are continuously progressing as robot types in this category conquer niches in increasing numbers outside the manufacturing scenario,” says Martin Haegele, who chairs the IFR Service Robot Group and authors the annual World Robotics Service Robots report, which has become the standard source for information on the service robotics industries.
“The variety of the niches actually makes the service robotics market,” continues Haegele. “In many application areas you already have highly developed machinery in place, like cleaning machines. The manual cleaning machines gradually become autonomous once there is a tangible need and suitable technology.”
Haegele, an Engelberger Robotics Award winner, is Division Manager of Intelligent Automation and Clean Room Technology at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, and in charge of the institute’s prominent robotics activities. The institute has 70-plus full-time researchers in the robotics area alone and develops robotic applications and robot-related technologies for industry. Learn more at the website below: