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New Class of Mobile Industrial Robots

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Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Broader application?
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 5:23:23 AM
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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?

a.saji
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Silver
Re: Broader application?
a.saji   2/25/2013 8:34:18 AM
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Good question Elizabeth. I too would like to have one if its being embeded or has the possibility to embed to a real vehicle. One quick question.. What sort of a distance does it carry signals for ?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Broader application?
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 10:19:16 AM
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Well even if it's embedded, maybe the principle of the technology can be applied to other vehicles. Definitely a posssibility, I imagine.

a.saji
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Silver
Re: Broader application?
a.saji   2/27/2013 10:27:11 AM
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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.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Broader application?
Elizabeth M   2/28/2013 4:27:42 AM
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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!

LJM
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Iron
History repeating
LJM   2/26/2013 9:45:46 AM
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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.

apresher
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Mobile Robots
apresher   2/25/2013 1:48:08 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Mobile Robots
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2013 5:26:25 PM
This platform looks like it's built with similar priniciples and technologies as some of the mobile medical robots and security robots we' ve covered before, but combining them in new ways.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Mobile Robots
Elizabeth M   2/27/2013 5:14:17 AM
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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
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Platinum
bigger ecommerce boom?
NadineJ   2/25/2013 2:54:31 PM
Technology like this can make it even easier and faster for online retailers to fill orders.  It could even be used to help small retailers enter the online marketplace.

Any details on the up-front cost per sq ft associated with modifying any facility to use an AGV?  What's the minimum facility size needed for this to be considered reasonable or cost effective?

apresher
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Mobile Robots
apresher   2/25/2013 3:25:44 PM
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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.

Hope that is helpful.

Greg M. Jung
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Platinum
Applications for AGV's
Greg M. Jung   2/25/2013 10:35:05 PM
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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?

apresher
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Mobile Robots
apresher   2/26/2013 12:20:15 PM
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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.

apresher
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Blogger
Mobile Robots
apresher   2/26/2013 12:21:22 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Mobile Robots
Ann R. Thryft   3/20/2013 4:58:58 PM
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Thanks, Al. Interesting, because the other mobile medical 'bots I've seen have a different, tall and vertical form-factor. Some of the uses overlap with this one, some don't.

apresher
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Mobile Robots
apresher   2/26/2013 12:23:12 PM
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Greg,  I agree with you that AGVs seem to be used in niche applications rather than gaining widespread use. Material handling is definitely a strong area for both AGVs and this new technology as well.

apresher
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Blogger
Mobile Robots
apresher   2/28/2013 4:12:27 PM
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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.

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