Hyundai’s robot vision of the future is unexpectedly realistic

By Shane McGlaun

Typically we think of automotive manufacturer Hyundai, its cars and SUVs that come to mind. Hyundai is on hand at CES 2022, and it has revealed something that isn’t automotive-related but is aimed at ushering in a new type of mobility. The product is called the Plug & Drive (PnD) Robotic Module, and Hyundai says it’s designed to enable the Mobility of Things (MoT) concept. Via Hyundai

Hyundai says PnD is a modular platform that adds mobility to traditionally inanimate objects. The platform can be used to mobilize large and small objects and build robots. Hyundai has a stated goal of creating robots using the new platform that would allow personal mobility, connected communication, and the ability for the devices to operate atomically.

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Tech Startup Reveals Fully Autonomous Delivery Robot at CES: Meet the Ottobot

By Florina Spînu

The world’s biggest tech show is back. Today, January 5th, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opened its gates to all sorts of innovative and crazy machines. On-site made its apparition a fleet of autonomous robots as well. Called the Ottobots, these small robots are designed to deliver goods both indoors and outdoors. 6 photos

The ongoing health crisis continues to affect the consumers’ shopping behavior, changing how companies deliver goods. The result is that contactless deliveries have surged in popularity, with robots popping out to supply the demand.  

The Ottobot is the creation of tech startup Ottonomy. The company started pilot tests in 2020 and has since perfected its product into what rolled today at CES: a machine ready to take retail and restaurant industries by storm.

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THIS AUTOMATED WALL-CLIMBING ROBOT WAS DESIGNED BY HAUSBOTS TO STREAMLINE HOME-CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

BY SHAWN MCNULTY-KOWAL  

HB1 is an automated wall-climbing robot that was designed to streamline home construction projects.

No matter the size, location, style, or chosen building material–when it comes to constructing houses, it can be a dangerous job. Even with bulky construction vehicles, building homes requires a lot of finesse and attention. As our technological worlds evolve, so do our tools and that includes those used for home construction. Home-building robotics company Hausbots developed an automated, climbing construction robot called HB1 to help get home projects done.

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Autonomous delivery robots: ‘In the next 2-3 years you’re going to see them in every major city in the country,’ Serve Robotics CEO

CEO of Serve Robotics, Ali Kashani, joins Yahoo Finance to talk about the goal of replacing 5% of food delivery with robots.

– So one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is that not only have traditional businesses had to adapt, but the whole concept of delivery, whether it be food, retail delivery, it is adapting, and technology is leading the way. We want to bring back into the stream, Ali Kashani, Serve Robotics CEO and former head of Postmates X at Uber, it’s good to have you back. In fact, the last time we talked about this issue, the goal was to replace I think it was 5% of food delivery with the robots. And let’s just face the facts, your robots are so darn cute, those little bots that you’re testing. When is this really going to take place? Because many of us in New York City are tired of dodging the bicyclists who are going to run us over when they run the red lights.

– Thanks for having me. Yes, I think next year is going to be a big year for this effort. We are going to see our economy commercialized for the first time. With these robots rolling out in a few major cities, I think in the next two or three years you are going to see them in every major city in the country, actually.

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Moving toward the first flying humanoid robot

The iRonCub robot. Credit: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

by Ingrid Fadelli

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) have recently been exploring a fascinating idea, that of creating humanoid robots that can fly. To efficiently control the movements of flying robots, objects or vehicles, however, researchers require systems that can reliably estimate the intensity of the thrust produced by propellers, which allow them to move through the air.

As thrust forces are difficult to measure directly, they are usually estimated based on data collected by onboard sensors. The team at IIT recently introduced a new framework that can estimate thrust intensities of flying multibody systems that are not equipped with thrust-measuring sensors. This framework, presented in a paper published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, could ultimately help them to realize their envisioned flying humanoid robot.

“Our early ideas of making a flying humanoid robot came up around 2016,” Daniele Pucci, head of the Artificial and Mechanical Intelligence lab that carried out the study, told TechXplore. “The main purpose was to conceive robots that could operate in disaster-like scenarios, where there are survivors to rescue inside partially destroyed buildings, and these buildings are difficult to reach because of potential floods and fire around them.”

The key objective of the recent work by Pucci and his colleagues was to devise a robot that can manipulate objects, walk on the ground and fly. As many humanoid robots can both manipulate objects and move on the ground, the team decided to extend the capabilities of a humanoid robot to include flight; rather than developing an entirely new robotic structure.

“Once provided with flight abilities, humanoid robots could fly from one building to another avoiding debris, fire and floods,” Pucci said. “After landing, they could manipulate objects to open doors and close gas valves, or walk inside buildings for indoor inspection, for instance looking for survivors of a fire or natural disaster.” 

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A new micro aerial robot based on dielectric elastomer actuators

A 0.16 g microscale robot that is powered by a muscle-like soft actuator.

by Ingrid Fadelli

Micro-sized robots could have countless valuable applications, for instance, assisting humans during search-and-rescue missions, conducting precise surgical procedures, and agricultural interventions. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently created a tiny, flying robot based on a class of artificial muscles known as dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs).

This new robot, presented in a paper published in Wiley’s Advanced Materials journal, significantly outperformed many DEA-based micro-systems developed in the past. Most notably, the robot can operate at low voltages and has high endurance despite its miniature size.

“Our group has a long-term vision of creating a swarm of insect-like robots that can perform complex tasks such as assisted pollination and collective search-and-rescue,” Kevin Chen, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Tech Xplore. “Since three years ago, we have been working on developing aerial robots that are driven by muscle-like soft actuators.”

In their previous research, Chen and his colleagues presented several micro robots that could fly remarkably well, performing acrobatic movements in the air and quickly recovering after colliding with other objects. Despite these promising results, the soft actuators underpinning these systems required a high driving voltage of 2 kV, which prevented the robots from operating without an external power supply.

“To fly without wires, the soft actuator needs to operate at a lower voltage,” Chen explained. “Therefore, the main goal of our recent study was to reduce the operating voltage of muscle-like DEAs.”

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Ford Invents The Ultimate Barbeque Robot

It’s the Terminator of cooked meats.

BY MICHAEL BUTLER

As the world becomes increasingly automated, car manufacturers, who have historically been innovators in the field of automation, are taking things to the next level. Hyundai’s newest employees are all robots, and even Honda plans on employing an army of delivery robots in the near future. Ford has also shown some serious advancement in the world of automation, with its most impressive being this robotic grilling machine, complete with a Ford Ranger front-end. The robot operates from Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in South Africa, and is blowing people away with its ability to flip a burger better than SpongeBob could ever dream of. Welcome to the future ladies and gentleman.

Ford calls this wondrous machine the TCF BBQ (Braai Boerewors Quickly), which refers to a type of South African sausage cooked on open coals. The TCF BBQ was salvaged from decommissioned tooling used in the Silverton Assembly Plant, and was dreamt up by Claude Roux, an area manager from the trim and chassis and final (TCF) line. The robot was programmed as part of a competition held by Ford South Africa to design something unique from decommissioned tools sitting at the plant.

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Autonomous Two-Legged Robot Ascento Pro Has Motorized Wheels, Jumps Like a True Athlete

by Cristina Mircea

Wheeled robots are really starting to catch on, as this design makes them suitable for a variety of applications. The Ascento Pro is a good example of versatile mobile bots and it combines both the flexibility of the legs and the speed of wheels. 6 photos

Developed by Swiss company Ascento Robotics, the Ascento Pro is an upgraded version of the previous Ascento 2 machine, which was launched in 2020. That robot was already impressive in terms of motor skills, but the Pro version brings even more features to the table.

With a simple, compact, and modular design, the Ascento Pro is designed in a way that leaves enough space for custom sensors and various payloads. It has two legs, each with a motorized wheel, and a tensional spring in the knees, which compensates for the bot’s own weight. It can bend its knees to get even smaller, it can walk on any surface, climb stairs, jump up and forward, and hop over obstacles.

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Courier service Glovo to use robots for Madrid deliveries

MADRID – The decision of the Madrid City Council to allow self-driving vehicles on the street is an excellent opportunity for Glovo to start with robot deliveries. The courier service has now applied for approval for a trial in the chic Salamanca district. 

If it is up to Glovo, the robots will take to the streets after approval in January. This represents a major challenge for the city council of the Spanish capital. On one hand, it wants to make Madrid an attractive location for innovative companies. However, on the other hand, it must continue to monitor safety on the street. 

In addition to Glovo, the Madrid start-up Goggo Network has also requested approval for putting self-driving vehicles on the road. The intention is that these vehicles, like Glovo’s robots, will be deployed in the Salamanca district. It will then be the first time that automated vehicles will drive around the city. 

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Grocery Robot Specialist Simbe Robotics Patents System to Detect Produce Freshness

by Michael Wolf

Whether it’s to carry groceries around the store or to deliver them to our front door, it won’t be too much longer before everyday shoppers see robots both in and around the grocery store.

But one potential interesting new use-case for in-store robotics we haven’t heard much about is for detection of produce freshness. That may change soon, as Simbe Robotics, the maker of the Tally 3.0 robot, has just been issued a patent for spectral imaging of produce and meats and detect how fresh they are.

The US patent, which is number 11,200,537 and titled “Method for tracking and characterizing perishable goods in a store,” uses computer vision to record images across a period of time and derive a set of characteristics specific to the type of food. For produce, it can assign a percentage of ripeness, determine whether it is under, over, or at peak ripeness, and determine if there is other biological matter such as a contaminant on the food. It can also determine whether a fruit or vegetable is rotten, damaged, or bruised. 

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Asylon Robotics Set to Unveil New Security Robotics Capabilities With DroneDog

The release event showcases next-generation hardware and software that enables the DroneDog security robot to conduct teleoperated patrols and response missions.

By Ryan Hodgens

Asylon, Inc., the only full-service American robotic perimeter security company, is set to demonstrate DroneDog live on December 15. During the demonstration, two guests will have complete control over the DroneDog — physically located in Norristown, Pennsylvania —without leaving their respective offices around the country.

Earlier this year, Asylon partnered with Boston Dynamics, creators of the Spot quadruped unmanned ground vehicle (Q-UGV), to create the DroneDog system. Boston Dynamics has focused on creating robots with advanced mobility for 30 years and their Spot robot has been purposefully designed to be a platform. The complete DroneDog system includes additional hardware and software components that are set to be unveiled during the event.

The hardware and software Asylon developed enable capabilities that include live video monitoring, teleoperation, 20x optical zoom, infrared (thermal) vision for nighttime operations, and automated charging for a set-and-forget system. And, while most ground robots run on wheels or tracks, DroneDog’s leg design allows it to travel over uneven and unpredictable terrain with organic, life-like motion. Organizations can even have multiple DroneDogs working in combination to employ an automated security task force to guard their locations 24/7.

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Swiss delivery robot walks, drives, stands, but doesn’t fly (yet)

By Bruce Crumley

A major Swiss update of a previously developed robot has yielded a car, quadruped, humanoid delivery vehicle that may rival aerial drones in getting goods to destinations – apart from the flying trick, that is.

Initially trotted out as the ANYmal in 2018, the new, wheel-outfitted iteration was rolled out recently as the Swiss-Mile Robot, whose driving, climbing, and standing capacities make it a tough delivery vehicle competitor to autonomous cars and aerial drones. Those development improvements were the work of the Swiss Mile, which adopted the bot concept from creator ANYbotics. Named for the distance the machine can cover in an hour (13.8 miles), the upgraded Swiss Mile robot can operate for 90 minutes on a single charge, and reach transport speeds of up to 14 mph.

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