faqs

The 11 most frequently asked questions about autonomous mobile robotics

  • Robotnik is a leader in autonomous and collaborative mobile robotics. Do you have questions about how it works, the applications, the advantages it can bring to your company? We have all the answers!

Collaborative mobile robotics is already a reality in many companies. According to the Fortune Business Insights report, 'the global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market size was $1.67 billion in 2020'. However, many of them, especially SMEs, still have multiple doubts about how this technology can help their companies. As a leading company in the industry, we receive numerous queries in this regard. The first phase of any industrial implementation is the analysis phase and, from this phase, a multitude of unknowns arise. Today we have compiled the most representative questions in this article.

 

1. Difference between AGVs and AMR

AGVs (Automatic Guided Vehicles) have existed since the 1950s, normally for the transport of heavy loads. Their main characteristic is that they run on a lane or belt and follow a predetermined route. More advanced AGVs, on the other hand, are capable of detecting obstacles, but not of re-routing, so that when they encounter an obstacle, the robot will stop.


There are many differences and advantages of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) over traditional AGVS (as can be seen in a previous article on Robotnik's blog). One of the main differences is that AMRs use free navigation by means of lasers, while AGVs are located with fixed elements: magnetic tapes, magnets, beacons... This means that in warehouses and places where the work environment is shared with humans, AMRs work better due to their dynamism and efficiency to share tasks.

 

2. In which areas or sectors can collaborative mobile robotics be applied?

It is difficult to say in which sectors it can be applied because Robotnik's experience shows that it is applicable to absolutely any sector.

Flexibility, collaboration between machines and people and diversification into new sectors and business models are setting the pace for robotics in 2021, according to the conclusions published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Particularly in Robotnik, we work with very diverse sectors: industrial, agri-food, health, defense or rescue, construction, logistics, academic...

In the end, the sector is autonomous mobile robotics, therefore, any area that needs to automate a task through this type of robots, is part of Robotnik's target.

To be specific, it is true that the most demanded application by industrial customers is the transport of loads from one point to another or pick and place in the case of mobile manipulators. In addition, Robotnik's robots have the capacity to combine the process in indoor and outdoor environments, one of the competitive advantages of the company and the reason why many customers choose it. Many companies require transport to be carried out both indoors and outdoors (e.g., when they have several buildings), so the most optimal solution is for the same vehicle to carry it out.

Other applications that are also common: picking tasks (in collaboration with an operator to speed up the order process), inspection applications (the robot can send an alert if it detects something out of place, normally thermography is used for this purpose) and surveillance or security (instead of the traditional fixed camera, the robot can travel around different points of a warehouse or factory, so it covers more points), selective spraying in agriculture, fruit inspection...

 

3. What exactly is an autonomous mobile robot?

There is a certain belief that an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) is simply a programmed machine and this is not the case. An autonomous robot must have the independence to make decisions in a work environment, without the need for human intervention.

There are many industrial machines that, when they perceive an obstacle, do not have the ability to decide, for example, to change their route. Therefore, these machines cannot be considered AMRs.

For a robot to be truly autonomous, it must perceive and understand the environment, making decisions that allow it to operate in the most effective way, even if the environment is changing.

 

4. What happens if the robot encounters an obstacle?

Robotnik integrates sensors and various components into its robots that receive, process and analyses data in real time and act accordingly. In other words, when an autonomous mobile robot encounters an obstacle on its route, such as a pallet, it will recalculate the route if possible or stop if it detects that it could harm the operators.

5. What are the phases of an industrial implementation project?

First of all, the application in which you want to use mobile robotics must be analysed. If it is viable, a technical and economic offer is drawn up. Then a pilot project is carried out, which is already part of the development of the project.

These projects require almost no maintenance, so that once the installation is optimised, the customer can manage it autonomously, thanks to the tools that Robotnik provides: Fleet Management System and User Interface.

6. How will automation affect my employees?

As we have said before, autonomy gives the robot the ability to know and recognise the environment in which it is working. This gives the operators more working capacity, as they do not have to be aware of the robot.

Therefore, this will be a first change for workers: to be able to focus on the tasks they perform without the need to supervise the robot and to free themselves from mechanical, heavy and even dangerous activities.

Undoubtedly, one of the questions that most concerns society is how robots will transform the workplace. A few months ago, Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, said that the trend is for ‘better, safer, higher-paying jobs to be created by robotics, as technology increases what people do best, while doing the jobs people don't want to do’.

Throughout history, as technology has advanced, thousands of processes have been automated in factories that have improved the quality of life for their workers, this need be no different in the case of collaborative robotics.

 

7. How do I train my employees to coexist with mobile robotics?

One of the main advantages of Robotnik's AMRs is their easy configuration and installation thanks to their open software and hardware, which allows them to be adapted to the specific needs of the client and/or the application. In the end, this translates into quick and easy commissioning.

It may happen that in the staff of a factory or warehouse there are workers with a technical profile capable of leading the integration of robotics, but this is not usual. The service provided by the Engineering Department is one of the most appreciated aspects of Robotnik. A few months ago, Mr. Con Cronin of KOSTAL Ireland GmbH coined a review for us that spoke precisely of this: 'Robotnik's staff have always accompanied us in the process, going beyond their field of work. Robotnik engineers have developed a proof of concept and transformed it into a system ready for real production'.

 

8. What are the most disruptive technologies associated with robotics today?

Right now, you cannot understand robotics without talking about 5G, Artificial Intelligence or augmented reality. Another example of the most technologically innovative points: at Robotnik we not only work with 2D navigation but we are already using 3D.

 

9. How is AI used in robots?

Collaborative mobile robotics is evolving hand in hand with Artificial Intelligence. In the end, at Robotnik we develop autonomous mobile robots that will share space with humans and this implies that they have the ability to "think" for themselves in certain situations and make decisions that a human would make, but being a machine.

 

10.  What does it mean for a robot to integrate ROS architecture?

In recent years, ROS has become a standard in Service Robotics, and great advances are being made in the industrial sector.

Most robots and components on the market are supported in ROS, but sometimes it is not easy to find out which ones are, which version they support or how to acquire them. In the end, it is about finding a way to help the development of robotic applications, facilitating the communication between sensors and algorithms, following the paradigm of "program once, test everywhere".

One of our main objectives is to link the products with their drivers and/or software for ROS, detailing how they are installed and configured and where tutorials or useful information can be found, among other aspects.

 

11. What are the most important components/sensors of a collaborative mobile robot?

Robotnik's mobile robots have multiple integration possibilities but among the most prominent would-be LiDAR devices, cameras, collaborative arms (for example, those of Universal Robots) or environmental sensors.

Of course, special mention should be made of safety lasers, the basis for collaborative autonomous localization and navigation.

 


RB-KAIROS+, the first mobile robot fully prepared to integrate URe arms

Designed for all types of industrial applications, it is presented as a solution for Universal Robots e-Series users.

Thanks to its mobility, it extends the cobot  workspace unlimitedly.

RB-KAIROS+ is a robotic platform designed for the plug&play integration of Universal Robots e-Series arms. Its software and hardware are fully prepared to mount the arm and thus turn the robotic arm into a mobile manipulator. This allows unlimited expansion of the cobot workspace because the collaborative mobile manipulator can work in different locations. In this sense, it is a great complement for current URe arm users.

RB-KAIROS+ is extremely useful for industrial applications such as pick and place, part feeding, metrology, quality control, bolting of large parts or packaging. Without a doubt, it is an excellent way to improve the productivity of any factory.

robot manipulator

In addition, it is designed to work in industrial environments, where safety lasers are generally used, which allow the robot to safely share the workspace with the operators.

RB-KAIROS+ has a robust steel design and can carry up to 250 Kg. The mobile platform has omnidirectional / skid-steering kinematics based on 4 high power motor wheels.

RB-KAIROS+ can navigate autonomously and can be configured with a wide range of sensors and components found within the UR + ecosystem.

RB-KAIROS+ is a certificate product from UR+

More information: RB-KAIROS +

Do not miss our video.

 


Top robotics companies: Robotnik

Top robotics companies: why Robotnik is between them?

Today, robotics is part of our day to day, helping to optimize and automate tasks and making life easier for people. Like many others, this has been a natural process that we have reached due to numerous factors such as, for example, labour shortages in some sectors; the decrease in the world labour force (due to the low birth rate and aging); the search for automations that avoid human error and also the automation of those heavy, repetitive or simple jobs. If you want to know why Robotnik is between the top robotics companies, just keep reading!

The importance of human and robots 

What is collaborative robotics and what does it contribute?

In relation to this last aspect, we find collaborative robotics, which t is presented as one more working tool, as an aid for workers and operators. These are robots that can work safely in environments where there are people, without physical barriers. This has undoubtedly been the definitive step and made by the top robotics companies. Robots can be as just another co-worker. If we add to this the simplicity of its installation, its ease of use and that they can perform a wide number of tasks, it is understood that collaborative robots are present in any company that is in the so-called industry 4.0.

 

How the ​best robotics companies help create jobs

If we put into focus the idea that collaborative robots often perform repetitive, heavy and sometimes even dangerous tasks, we can go beyond the hackneyed concept that robots replace traditional labour and frame it in a new concept about processes improvement. That is, seeing collaborative robotics as one more aid to produce better, so that the company/industry is as efficient as possible.

Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics, assures that: “Productivity increases and competitive advantages of automation don´t replace jobs – they will automate tasks, augment jobs and create new ones.”

Companies around the world are increasing their use of industrial robots: in five years, the global operating stock increased by approximately 65% ​​to 2.4 million units (2013-2018).

 

And which are the top robotics companies in the market? Robotnik is one of them

Robotnik is specialized in mobile robotics. Since 2002, the year of its foundation, it designs, manufactures, and markets robots and mobile manipulators.

Currently, our robots are present in numerous sectors: R&D, defense, inspection and maintenance, etc. The strongest in the industrial market is undoubtedly the logistics sector.

 

Best robotics companies uses robots in logistic sector 

Why choose Robotnik?

Nowadays, anyone with a general knowledge of the industry knows the use of mobile robots to transport goods in environments such as warehouses or even outdoor environments, such as those with large companies made up of several buildings that need to share merchandise with each other. The uses are very wide and in the end what it is about is to automate a process that is simple and repetitive, what a robot does best.

This, which is already so accepted in the market, was not so accepted in 2008, when Robotnik launched its first Collaborative Mobile Robots (CMR) on the market for autonomous transport in hospital environments. That experience is what has helped our company to be one of the best companies in the robotics sector. Since then, our logistics solution has been expanded adapting to the different environments of factories, warehouses or industries in general.

Our indoor logistics system is a comprehensive solution that includes robot fleet, location systems, user interface (HMI) and Fleet Management System (FMS). All this is a specific development from Robotnik.

 

What are the advantages of robotics and mobile handling in the logistics sector?

That collaborative mobile robotics has been making its way in sectors such as logistics makes a lot of sense. What would be the advantages it provides? We can cite the following:

  • Easy setup and installation.
  • Appropriate to share the workspace with people.
  • Automation of repetitive or unsafe processes.
  • Different localization solutions available.
  • Flexible routes vs fixed routes of traditional AGVs.
  • Advanced intelligent functions: person following, docking to machinery, voice communication, etc.
  • Advanced user interface (HMI) that allows to generate maps and define localization (waypoints) and routes in a simple and interactive way.
  • FMS (Fleet Management System) for the optimal coordination of a fleet of robots that share a workspace and a set of resources.

Top robotics companies share space between humans and robots

Success factors or how to try to be among the best robotics companies

Among the companies that have managed to consolidate over time, and especially the technology companies, several factors tend to coincide. Among those who define Robotnik like a top robotics company we could mention:

  • Market: when a company is in a booming sector, it is normal for it to progress. From 2020 to 2022 almost 2 million new units of industrial robots are expected to be installed in factories around the world. Europe is the region with the highest robot density, with an average value of 114 units per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry.
  • Innovation: any technology company must innovate if it wants to have a benchmark in the market. At Robotnik we have tried to launch products that add value to the market, and we have tried to improve the processes of our industrial customers. There is another way of doing things and mobile robotics has a lot to say about it.
  • Customization: one of the things that defines us the most is our ability to create, and to develop new prototypes that adapt to the needs of our clients. If there is a robot or a mobile manipulator at the base of a project, we can make it happen.
  • Vision: over 18 years there have been some setbacks, but also many successes such as the commitment to certain sectors and countries or specialization in certain types of products (such as, for example, right now in the field of mobile handling) .
  • Alliances: all our business partners have helped us. Our distributors, strategic allies for certain projects... are the ones who have helped us establishing ourselves in the international market or in certain sectors. The path is not usually successful if you travel alone.

 

The list of top robotics companies that are doing interesting things in the world is extensive. We hope Robotnik will continue to be one of them for a long time.

 

Top robotics companies: Robotnik

Now that you know more about us, we encourage you to follow us on social media if you want have the latest news about us:


Bots2ReC, robotic extraction of asbestos fibres from buildings

Europe has paid a high price for asbestos, with over 100 000 related deaths. First in line in the fight to free buildings from asbestos contamination, workers in the construction sector could soon find a helping hand in the form of an AI-piloted robotic system.

The constant and multifaceted evolution of society has left very few industries unchanged. For most sectors, this has meant moving towards increased automation. Most, but not all. One unyielding sector has largely stayed true to its old ways: the construction sector. For the past 200 years, the same repetitive, standardised, and physically challenging construction tasks have been performed by workers with their own two hands. But this could change soon thanks to projects as Bots2ReC (Robots to Re-Construction). The reasoning behind Bots2ReC is simple: some tasks are simply too hazardous for humans to perform, and machines could easily replace them. “Besides the exposure, some processes or the materials handled in those processes generate health hazards in the form of dust, vibration, noise or toxic substances. It is precisely for these tasks that we could expect great benefits from – and also show the massive potential of – automation to achieve sustainable socio-ecological improvements,” says Tobias Haschke, coordinator of the project on behalf of RWTH Aachen University.

Tailored to construction sector needs

To enable such automation, the project consortium first had to overcome barriers related to the nature of the construction sector. Whereas most industries manufacture in a defined environment, the construction industry has historically had to cope with a continuously changing environment with varying rules and procedures. As Haschke explains: “The key to success lies in the technical control of this constant change.” Recent developments in computer science, storage systems and sensors were key enablers that set Bots2ReC in motion. They enabled the introduction of semi-autonomous solutions through mobile handling of environment complexity. Over a span of 3 years, the project team developed a robotic system capable of handling asbestos removal on construction sites. “The robot operates asbestos removal comprehensively and not just piece by piece. Thanks to its AI capabilities, it is also tailor-made to be used under real conditions,” Haschke explains. “The AI combines a tailored lightweight data format for environmental representation with a complex planning module. As a result, it can provide a scalable system in terms of fleet size and it automatically adapts to the floor plans at hand”. Most tests of the Bots2ReC were carried out with a grinding disk to reflect the actual process of asbestos removal. This helped the team understand and subsequently control the complex mechanisms of such interaction. Furthermore, the system was examined for its suitability for use in normal residential buildings, and tested in various room and floor plan constellations. The results are promising, with basic accessibility reaching almost 90 % of the wall surfaces of a general dwelling. A direct comparison to manual work is still pending and will be implemented in the follow-up of the project.

The greatest achievement

“To me, our greatest achievement is the robot itself. Its design and mode of operation are tailored to the requirements of the construction industry, and its design method is unique. This is reflected in the processable ceiling height of 3 m, which is simultaneously paired with an arm payload of 20 kg and continuous power supply via the mobile, omni-directional tandem system,” Haschke explains. The project has already generated attention in the construction industry, both for its complete robotic system and for its components.

mobile robot

Although Bots2ReC was completed in November 2019, the team has been investigating further developments of grinding processes, planning logic and radar technology since then. These are already in demand and should be commercialised within the next 2 years. “We are especially proud of the products that have been decoupled during the project and are already available on the market in the form of two mobile robots at Robotnik Automation (RB-2 BASE and Summit XL Steel),  and various improved radar sensors from indurad GmbH,” Haschke notes. With its focus on asbestos, Bots2ReC is well placed to reduce the future health burden on workers. There is little doubt that the cost of the technology will easily be counterbalanced by its high social benefit and economic efficiency. The project could be adapted for the removal of other hazardous products, such as lead paint.


Autonomous robotics to implement precision agriculture

Inside the iDRONE project, funded by IVACE, AINIA has developed a model of precision agriculture based on hyperspectral vision sensors, unmanned flight devices (drones and autonomous robots) and the application of Artificial Intelligence techniques and Big data analytics.

The application of these advanced technologies in the tasks of the field will allow the farmer to apply phytosanitary treatments to each plant or crop according to their needs, or decide the optimal time of collection selectively, among other advantages.

The contribution of Robotnik to the project is the SUMMIT-XL autonomous robot, customized with the corresponding sensorization and that has been used in various R&D projects focused on precision agriculture.

More information:


How can a SUMMIT-XL STEEL make easier the development of your R&D?

Have you ever wondered how Robotnik can help the development of your R&D? If so, here's an example: the mobile platform SUMMIT-XL STEEL Robotnik is highly configurable. In it, a wide range of sensors can be integrated, actuators and robotic arms, making it an ideal robot for the development of industrial or R&D projects.

An example of this is the work of the IIT (Italian Institute of Technology), where the robot MOCA (Collaborative MObile robotic Assistant), born of the combination of the collaborative platform SUMMIT-XL STEEL and a Franca Emika arm.

With this robot, IIT has developed a case-study project to face the challenges of human-robot collaboration. The biggest advantage offered by collaborative robots lies in the opportunity to combine accuracy, strength and power of automation with flexibility, experience and cognitive abilities of humans.

ITT has implemented a strategy for navigation control to make the robot move in a virtual laboratory area, avoiding obstacles either static and mobile (including concurrent partners) and to reach the location of collaborative human partner.

The following video results are observed. As soon as the human subject is ready to perform the task, he/she slightly raises the arm holding the drill and the location of the subject in the workspace is automatically sent to MOCA, which starts to approach. At the end of the navigation phase, MOCA gets stopped before the subject at a predefined distance and collaboration phase begins.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=31&v=6UPgc_5t8Rs

If you want further information about how Robotnik's robots can help you achieving your research and development projects’ goals, you can get in touch now with our experts in mobile collaborative robots and start configuring your platform or mobile manipulator .


Today we are present on Telecinco news!

And it is that in Robotnik we are very proud of our ELI autonomous shopping cart, which is showed today by the Telecinco news website in an article that talks about the shopping experience of the future and the big data, the artificial intelligence and products like our ELI shopping cart.

 

Read the full post here.

 


The new RB-VULCANO in HispaRob

This month's Hisparob newsletter includes, within its ‘Our partners’ section, the new range of robots that Robotnik has just launched: the RB-VULCANO series. This new product line is focused on the industrial market thanks to its most outstanding characteristics: its great load capacity, its autonomy and its great versatility to incorporate different tools depending on the tasks to be performed.

The new RB-VULCANO is designed, manufactured and marketed by Robotnik. This is the result of Robotnik´s experience for more than 17 years in the Mobile Robotics Sector.

A new line of products that expands and complements the product portfolio of the company by incorporating three new robots. They are characterized by their large load capacity, their autonomy, their industrial approach and their versatility to incorporate various tools based on their use.

  • The mobile platform RB-VULCANO BASE stands out for its high load capacity: 1.750 kg and an autonomy of up to 10 hours. Both features are extremely useful for industrial environments, especially for logistics applications.
  • Besides that, the robot RB-VULCANO consists of the mobile platform RB-Vulcano Base, lift column and a UR5 arm (payload of 5 kg) or arm UR10 (payload 10 kg). By default, it has integrated collaborative gripper 40 CO-ACT (Schunk) but this can be replaced by any other type of tool (as a screwdriver, for example).
  • Finally, the mobile platform RB-VULCANO PRO stands out for its ability to integrate various components for performing numerous tasks in industrial, agricultural and logistics environments. Among these components are tools, structures, supports, robotic arms, forklifts, roller-conveyors, tanks and air/hydraulic units, among others.

Currently, RB-VULCANO is already operating in different real industrial environments, from the agriculture sector to aircraft manufacturing, through logistics centers. RB-VULCANO is capable of carrying out any activity that is repetitive, heavy or dangerous, optimizing production within any company. Among the competitive advantages of these new robots and mobile manipulators is their flexibility. That is, they are modular and versatile units, which can incorporate different sensors, tools and components. In addition, these are collaborative robotic platforms, that is, they can safely work with people in different work environments.

Robotnik is a partner of the Spanish Robotics Technology Platform, HispaRob, a forum that welcomes different agents involved in the development, promotion and integration of robotic technologies in all areas of our society.

You can download the HispaRob newsletter here.

 


Learn ROS with a SUMMIT-XL from Robotnik

The Construct is the company world leader in teaching ROS online. Every Tuesday it spreads a free ROS Live Class on its Youtube channel, where attendants can learn and practice a ROS subject.

The Construct has been teaching courses on ROS programming of our SUMMIT-XL in a simulated environment, but recently we understood that these master class will be more useful for the followers with a real demo with SUMMIT-XL mobile robot. Through it, The Construct have been able to do tests in real environment.

Since October 2017, The Construct teaches an online course about all you need to operate and use the SUMMIT-XL robot platform in the real world. You will learn it through hands on experience with a simulated version of the real robot which will have the exact same interface as the real one, thanks to ROS infrastructure..

SUMMIT-XL stands out for its high mobility and modularity. It has skid-steering kinematics based on 4 high power motorwheels. Furthermore, it can mount several sensors according to the final application (cameras, lasers, etc.). Therefore, SUMMIT-XL is a complete and strong option inside the autonomous mobile robotics market.

Now, The Construct shows how to control any real robot from the ROS Development Studio Cloud Robotics Platform with the example of the Robotnik SUMMIT-XL:

And at this video shows how easy is to setup and control a robot from ROSDS cloud robotics platform:


Robotnik launches its new range of RB-Vulcano products

The new line of products is focused on industrial applications and complements the new product portfolio.

The new RB-VULCANO is designed, manufactured and marketed by Robotnik. This is the result of Robotnik´s experience for more than 17 years in the Mobile Robotics Sector.

A new line of products that expands and complements the product portfolio of the company by incorporating three new robots. They are characterized by their large load capacity, their autonomy, their industrial approach and their versatility to incorporate various tools based on their use.

The mobile platform RB-VULCANO BASE stands out for its high load capacity: 1.750 kg and an autonomy of up to 10 hours. Both features are extremely useful for industrial environments, especially for logistics applications.

Besides that, the robot RB-VULCANO consists of the mobile platform RB-Vulcano Base, lift column and a UR5 arm (payload of 5 kg) or arm UR10 (payload 10 kg). By default, it has integrated collaborative gripper 40 CO-ACT (Schunk) but this can be replaced by any other type of tool (as a screwdriver, for example).

Finally, the mobile platform RB-VULCANO PRO stands out for its ability to integrate various components for performing numerous tasks in industrial, agricultural and logistics environments. Among these components are tools, structures, supports, robotic arms, forklifts, roller-conveyors, tanks and air/hydraulic units, among others.