Yujin Robot's autonomous GoCart Mini service robot is small and smart enough to navigate through crowds using 3D sensors and laser scanners to detect obstacles and plan alternative routes. Matthew Stock reports.
This is GoCart - the autonomous service robot designed for use in elderly care facilities and hospitals. It can help healthcare workers spend more time with patients by relieving them of menial tasks like meal delivery and transporting dirty dishes. About half the size, GoCart Mini is the latest model. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARCUS LIEBHARDT, TEAM LEADER, YUJIN ROBOT, SAYING: "For places which are very crowded with a lot of people walking around where a small robot is needed which can manoeuvre through narrow corridors, it can sneak through between people." The robots work alone or as part of a fleet of droids all communicating with each other. Human input comes only when introducing the robot to its surroundings. Yujin Robot's Simultaneous Localization and Mapping system - or SLAM - helps it map out its environment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARCUS LIEBHARDT, TEAM LEADER, YUJIN ROBOT, SAYING: "We have 3D sensors; one camera over here, one over here, as well as a laser scanner in the base [POINTING]. They're all used to detect obstacles and to drive around them. In addition we have stereo cameras with our own vision-SLAM algorithms to localise the robot indoors." The GoCart Mini can navigate through congested spaces and manoeuvre around obstacles. Its sensors continuously watch out for obstacles and potential hazards. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARCUS LIEBHARDT, TEAM LEADER, YUJIN ROBOT, SAYING: "Our robots can handle dynamic environments or if people jump in its way; kids jumping around the robot, then the robot will stop in time to avoid any collision and it will also, if possible, re-plan its route, move around people, move around furniture." The makers say it could be particularly useful in labs and hospitals where medical samples or drugs could be moved around 24-7. The GoCart Mini will be field tested in the near future. It's currently on display at the IFA technology show in Berlin.