Adept's new Lynx mobile robot, a self-navigating AIV, is designed to move material from point to point in environments that may include confined passageways and dynamic and peopled locations. The Lynx system supports payloads of up to 60kg, utilizes digital maps for localization, and manages power and self-charging operations. (Source: Adept Technology)
Wow, this is really cool and a great application of this kind of technology and from the looks of the photo, they are quite sleek looking. And I imagine this is the kind of work that is painstaking for a human and could actually help a human worker be more efficient and do other things while the robot does the annoying part of the job. I also wonder if this kind of self-driving technology could have an application for self-driving cars?
Elizabeth: That would be great but the cost too will be very high for sure. I also feel that if we can embed some AI features to these atuomobiles, it would be something which might facinate the world. It will definitely be a new things for sure but it will also allow the companies to think beyond the box.
You are probably right, a.sajl, but maybe at some point there might be a cost effective way to adapt this technology. It will probably be too high at the moment, though, although I do believe a lot of smart people are working on the problem. Then again, I'm fine with the fact that humans still need to be behind the wheel to drive cars!
This reminds me of a fun robot that I worked on in the early 1990's. It was a kind of "tug" or autonomous tractor that pulled trailers loaded with material from A to B in a factory. It was Laser guided and had the usual Ultrasonic proximity detectors for object aviodance. It triangulated it's position every few milliseconds and so could go "off path". The task was to back up and dock with a full trailer at point A, haul it to the drop off point B, release it, then pickup an empty trailer and haul it back to point A. Then repeat with a nother full trailer. The payload was several 1,000 BIC pen barrels for assembly. Very reliable.
One of the key concepts of this technology is its ability to map out the floor plan of the facility and and sense, learn and map its environment versus relying on beacons or magnetic strips in the floor. That feature might be useful in other vehicles but it is targeting the plant environment.
Thanks for the info! So it is specific to this application and that might be difficult to apply to the unpredictability and varibability of a car's environment. But you never know...the people inventing these robots are quite clever and could find a way.
NadineJ, Not sure I can answer your specific questions but here are key points that relate to those:
"Natural feature" navigation used to deliver goods throughout a facility. Uses sensor input to determine location within the environment.
Deployment time less than competing technologies. Users map the area of operation. Claim is that "productive operations can be implemented in as little as a fraction of a day" depending on size/complexity of layout.
After deployed, asset is capable of managing real-time changes in environment. This enables vehicle to handle "exceptions" which is key departure from traditional forms of navigation.
From time to time, I see AGV's in industrial environments, but they do not seem to have taken off like the ATM machine, kiosks, etc. What are (or will) some applications be that will really make AGV's become a mainstream part of the workforce?
Ann, Medical applications are part of the target for this technology. Applications include deployment into hospitals in the form of a courier, such as a nurse that needs to get medication from a pharmacy up to the patient's ward. The pharmacist would place it into one of the units, and even have it go up on an elevator to the patient's room. That saves the highly trained clinician that time to transfer the product.
Ann, Medical is a target for this technology. Potential applications include deployment into hospitals in the form of a courier, such as a nurse that needs to get medication from a pharmacy up to the patient's ward. The pharmacist would place it into one of the units, and even have it go up on an elevator to the patient's room. That saves the highly trained clinician that time to transfer the product.
With companies like Google pouring software effort into driverless vehicle technology, maybe they will try to "learn" the environment or maybe link GPS information to their mapping capabilities. They have the $ to do whatever they want, or so it seems.