robotica de servicio

Examples of service robotics

Service robotics is currently emerging as a way for companies to improve their competitiveness, production capacity and innovation.

This article discusses the use of service robots, robot as a service (RaaS) and some interesting facts about the service robot market provided by the IFR Service Robots Group (IFR: International Federation of Robotics).

It also includes an article by Roberto Guzmán, CEO at Robotnik, published on 5 July in Harvard Deusto.

Robotnik’s co-founder provides his vision on current service robotics, the main area of work of the company. This is the case of Artificial Intelligence as an enabler of service robotics and its introduction in the market.

What is a service robot?

A service robot is a robot that “performs useful tasks for people or equipment, excluding industrial automation applications” (IFR).

According to the 2021 World Robotics – Service Robots report, generated and published by the IFR stadistica department, the market for professional service robots grew by 12% in 2020, from a sample turnover of $6 billion to $6.7 billion. The IFR itself classifies AMRs as service robots, often used in industrial environments.

Robotnik has been involved in the development, manufacturing and marketing of service robotics, namely autonomous mobile robots and manipulators, for 20 years.


Service robots can operate in different sectors and scenarios, depending on their technical specifications: outdoor agriculture, intralogistics in a warehouse, tunnel inspection or logistics in a hospital. Wikipedia gives an example of one of Robotnik’s first service robots working in a public hospital in Valencia.

Did you know that every third professional service robot sold in 2020 was built to transport goods or cargo?

Mobile robotics solutions are already established for transport and logistics. More than 43,500 units were sold in 2020 (+33%).

RaaS – Robot as a Service-
Service robotics is not the same as Robot as a Service – RaaS.

Robot as a service has gained some popularity in recent years. This is a business model in which an end-user pays for the use of the robot for a period of time, but does not purchase it permanently. In other words, they pay for a service – in this case, a robotic service. Despite the recent boom, RaaS represents less than 3% of the 43,500 units named above.


One advantage of RaaS is that it can serve to lower the barrier to entry for task automation in some companies that are more reluctant. A drawback is that, in reality, for most applications, RaaS business models are not offered.

The following article is about service robotics and some of the latest technologies in the sector:

Article by Roberto Guzmán, CEO in Robotnik. Harvard Deusto.

Service robots: towards more complex architectures

Robotics and AI are two distinct areas of knowledge. A robot can function with or without the use of AI, but AI is an enabler for the introduction of service robots, those that perform useful tasks for humans or equipment, excluding industrial automation applications.

The advent of new standards (5G/6G) implies multiple benefits for service robots and the use of services available in the cloud/edge. Among these services will be AI functionalities that will be shared among a large number of robots. These will enhance the knowledge base (fed by multiple robots) and offload computation to the cloud/edge.

Functionalities such as object recognition and grasping (bin picking), human recognition or language processing will run as AI services in the cloud/edge, standardising the functions of service robots and mobile manipulators.


Los sistemas de IA mencionados son verticales y están enfocados hacia un único problema: identificar objetos, identificar palabras y frases, decidir formas de agarrar un objeto, generar trayectorias…

The AI systems mentioned above are vertical and focused on a single problem: identifying objects, identifying words and phrases, deciding how to grasp an object, generating trajectories… These systems will evolve towards systems with more complete architectures, capable of handling more horizontal problems such as opening doors, assembling kits or cleaning rooms. Progressively, these architectures will have sufficient intelligence to achieve a certain degree of autonomy, solve new problems in different domains and develop complex tasks without prior programming.

Over time, these architectures will become smarter than people. It is possible that at a certain level, AI will be beyond our control, but limits could also be set to ensure appropriate and safe use. In the medium term, it will help service robots to relieve us of repetitive, hard or dangerous work.

Roberto Guzmán Diana
CEO of Robotnik

The service robotics market and adjacent technologies are in a constant ‘work in progress’. The development of digitalisation, cloud technologies, 5G and Artificial Intelligence, specifically in machine learning, are a boost for service robotics and specifically, in autonomous and collaborative mobile robotics.

As Roberto Guzmán says, the short and medium term for service robotics is to perform the most tedious, dangerous or repetitive tasks.

inspection robot

Robots for inspection and maintenance tasks

Inspection and maintenance tasks are a fundamental part of many industrial sectors: deteriorated infrastructures, tunnels, refineries, old buildings...

Mobile robotics allows the automation of operations related to the inspection and maintenance of scenarios that involve danger for operators.

In Robotnik has grown in recent years, the demand for AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots) both for end users and for R&D projects that promote research in this direction.

Safe industrial inspection

There are difficult to access or dangerous environments for humans, such as nuclear power plants, the chemical industry where toxic substances are handled, or places where there is a danger of collapse, among others.

Mobile robotics offers multiple advantages for inspection tasks in these cases:

  • Ensuring operator safety
  • Reducing the cost of operations
  • Ability to enter hard-to-reach spaces
  • Reducing errors due to fatigue or poor environmental conditions

Autonomous mobile robots for remote inspection

What kind of robots are in demand for inspection and for which applications specifically?

Robotnik has delivered several SUMMIT-XL robots for inspection applications in tunnels, remote substations, agricultural fields, shipbuilding and railway infrastructure, among others.
The SUMMIT-XL is a robust ROS-based modular platform that allows customisation for multiple outdoor and indoor applications. The platform has an autonomy of 5 hours of operation, includes a self-recharging station and is capable of mounting a wide range of sensors and actuators.

summit-xlProblem, context and state-of-the-art

To operate in areas where there may be no data network available or insufficient bandwidth, mobile and autonomous robots capable of operating in these scenarios are needed.

Robot operation is limited by both low autonomy and network limitations. The absence of data networks with the necessary characteristics for real telepresence has meant that most efforts to date have focused on providing robots with a high level of autonomy to perform complex maintenance or inspection operations.

The emergence of 5G technology allows new operating schemes to be used, in which the robot autonomously performs a large part of the mission, but also simplifies remote access to the robot from anywhere. Thus it can be teleoperated in circumstances for which it has not been programmed.

5G networks have latency and bandwidth that enable efficient robot teleoperation and complex teleoperated operations (turning a valve, changing a fuse, resetting a circuit breaker, opening a control panel and searching for a damaged component, etc.).

The robots will continue performing autonomous missions. When their level of autonomy is not capable of solving a problem, an operator will take control and perform the corresponding operation via telepresence, providing intelligence and decision-making.

The robot is operated from a standard HMI that can be customised to the user's specific needs. Additional sensors are added as new tabs and specific functionalities such as RTK-DGPS navigation or 3D point cloud visualisation are enabled in the same environment. The use of web-served interfaces allows remote operation and monitoring from any portable device or PC, as only a web browser is needed.

Success stories

There are several inspection success stories for which Robotnik has developed mobile robotics solutions. One example is the robotic vehicle for the maintenance service of the electricity interconnection tunnel between France and Spain.

To ensure the safety and reliability of the high-voltage power line between France and Spain, Robotnik has developed a fleet of robotic trains to monitor the condition of the tunnel section of the line.

The line is 64.5 km long, 33.5 km in France and 31 km in Spain, and crosses the Pyrenees through an 8.5 km tunnel in the central part of the route. This is an ambitious European project being developed by the mixed capital company INELFE (Interconexión Eléctrica Francia-España, a company formed by the public electricity companies of each country).

The interconnection between the two countries aims to optimise the daily production of the power plants, increase opportunities to operate with renewable energies and improve supply conditions.

Finally, it is important for Robotnik to highlight the importance of robot simulation in inspection projects. Simulated robots and environments make possible to start software development at an early stage and to reproduce the operating conditions even before the hardware has been developed. The simulation phase allows testing of kinematic and sensor configurations and is an important part of the design iteration cycle. In this use case, simulation allowed testing of different fleet management systems, collision avoidance algorithms and point cloud processing strategies.


What is an industrial robot? Industrial robot definition

The definition of an industrial robot system has evolved considerably in recent years.
In order to determine what an industrial robot is, it is useful to consider the changes from their origin to the present day.
The first robots were precisely industrial robots seen as machines capable of executing certain repetitive and fairly static movements.

Today, as technology advances, it is more complex to differentiate between what is an industrial robot, what is a service robot and how to delimit their working areas.
In the World Robotics 2021 report, it is determined that the classification into industrial robot or service robot is made according to their intended application. Industrial robots are robots "for use in industrial automation applications", while a service robot "performs useful tasks for people or equipment, excluding industrial automation applications".

The truth is that inside the industry there are scenarios where robots and humans have to share space and tasks, and therefore, industrial robots are no longer restricted to a safety zone.

More and more often, we find service robots by definition working in industrial applications.
In fact, in the so-called Industry 4.0, collaborative robots play a key role. Today, we would not be talking about collaborative robotics without the prior development of industrial robots systems and their journey towards intelligent automation solutions based on human interaction.

Industrial robot definition

So, what is an industrial robot? An industrial robot is one that has been developed to automate intensive production tasks such as those required by a constantly moving assembly line. As large, heavy robots, they are placed in fixed positions within an industrial plant and all other worker tasks and processes revolve around them.

The characteristics of industrial robots will vary according to the manufacturers, the needs and the scenario in which they are to be located.

According to the international standard ISO 8373:2012, the industrial robot definition is 'a multifunctional, reprogrammable, automatically controlled manipulator, programmable in three or more axes that can be fixed in one area or mobile for use in industrial automation applications'.
Industrial robots are not usually humanoid in form, although they are capable of reproducing human movements and behaviours but with the strength, precision and speed of a machine.

This following table extracted from the World Robotics 2021 report shows the evolution and forecast of mobile robot installations per year.


After that, here are some distinctions that are often confused within the industrial robotics sector:

Industrial robot and service robot: The difference here is done according to its intended application. As we read in IFR's 'World Robotics 2021' report: Industrial robots are robots "for use in industrial automation applications" while a service robot "performs useful tasks for people or equipment, excluding industrial automation applications".

According to the same report, the market for professional service robots grew by 12% in 2020, from a sample turnover of $6bn to $6.7bn. In addition, the global pandemic created new opportunities and additional demand for some service robot applications, e.g. cleaning or disinfection applications or other tasks in the healthcare sector such as telecare, transportation of food or supplies, administrative and logistical tasks, etc.

In fact, industrial robot components are increasingly being modified for applications outside the manufacturing environment. The aim is the integration of industrial robot systems into new markets, as in the example of robots in the healthcare sector above.

Industrial robot and autonomous mobile robot: Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) are often used in industrial environments, but they do not meet the definition of an industrial robot as such: they have no manipulation capability and no three axes.

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Mobile Manipulator: The IFR classifies AMRs as service robots although, as discussed in the previous point, they are often used in industrial environments. If the AMR platform is equipped with a robotic arm, it becomes a mobile manipulator and would therefore count as an industrial robot.

Robotnik as a manufacturer of mobile robotic systems and as the above IFR classification states, is an expert in the development of AMR and mobile service manipulators, often marketed in industrial environments.

Where are industrial robots used?

Nowadays, it is not only large companies that have access to industrial robots. More and more SMEs are experiencing an increase in profitability and a reduction in production costs by automating certain processes.
One of the objectives of industrial robotics is to optimise production lines making them more agile and adaptable to the specific needs of each customer.

Robotnik has been specialised in the development of industrial robotic applications based on platforms and mobile manipulators for 20 years.
Main areas where Robotnik's industrial robots are integrated:

Robotics in Logistics: autonomous mobile robots for the transport of materials in different areas and mobile manipulators that extend the working area of static collaborative robotic arms. Some logistics tasks where industrial robots are used are pick and place, metrology, packaging, polishing, screwing or drilling or palletising, among others.


Robotics for inspection and maintenance: integration of robotic systems equipped with sensors or artificial vision in inspection tasks in areas that are difficult to access or dangerous for operators. These robots can operate autonomously or be controlled remotely by an operator.

Where is service robotics used?

Beyond industrial manufacturing environments, the use of mobile robotics has increased significantly in several sectors:

Security and rescue: threat detection and assessment, real-time information gathering and transmission, transportation of goods... Autonomous mobile robotics has a lot to contribute in the area of security, rescue and defense.

Robotics in Agriculture: AMRs are increasingly used for fruit picking, identifying the state of a crop, spraying or sorting to avoid food waste.

Robotics in Construction: Early error detection, automation of hazardous tasks or monitoring and inspection are just some of the tasks that an AMR can perform in the construction sector.

Robotics in Healthcare: as mentioned above, it is already common to see collaborative robots in tasks such as transporting food or supplies, surgical assistance, telecare or administrative tasks.

The following table, elaborated by World Robotics 2021, shows the evolution of service robotics by sector and application:



In conclusion, what exactly do industrial robots look like?
After an approach to what an industrial robot is, these are some of the most demanded mobile robots for use in industrial environments:

RB-THERON is an excellent solution for industrial applications such as factories or warehouses, as it is specially designed for autonomous transport of loads indoors.

RB-ROBOUT the solution for the transport of heavy loads in intralogistics, designed to transport loads weighing up to 1 tonne in industrial environments.

RB-KAIROS+: this mobile manipulator is extremely useful for industrial applications such as pick and place, parts feeding, metrology, quality control, screwing of large parts, packaging, cleaning, polishing, screwing, etc. It is designed to work in industrial environments, sharing the work space with operators without risk.


RB-VOGUI+: a versatile mobile manipulator for indoor and outdoor logistics applications. The robot is highly mobile so it is able to follow an operator and navigate autonomously in any industrial environment.

diferencia entre AGV y AMR

What is the difference between AGVs vs. AMR?

Although there are some similarities between a mobile guided vehicle and an autonomous mobile robot, this article shows the differences between AGVs and AMR.

AGVs and AMR have specific characteristics that make them useful for different applications. It cannot be determined that AMRs are better than AGV, but rather that each is suitable for the given production context.

There are certain areas where the terms AMR and traditional AGV are used interchangeably. Although an AGV is not really a robot, but a robotic device, as it lacks the autonomy to determine or redefine its own route. By contrast, an AMR can navigate without external guidance. In other words, the AMR has freedom of navigation and decision making.

For example, if the robot is transporting any material from one point to another and encounters a pallet head-on, it will avoid the obstacle and redefine its route.


Main difference

An autonomous mobile robot is not simply a programmed machine. The AMR is one that, in addition to the initial programming, has a certain degree of independence to make decisions in the middle of the work environment, without the need for human intervention.

That is to say, not every industrial machine is an AMR because not every machine has the capacity to make decisions based on the information it perceives (unforeseen obstacles, for example).

The main difference between an AGV and an AMR is that AMRs use free navigation by means of lasers, while AGVs are located with fixed elements: magnetic tapes, magnets, beacons, etc. So, to be effective, they must have a predictable route.

In warehouses and places where the work environment is shared with humans, AMRs work better due to their dynamism and efficiency in sharing tasks. In addition, autonomous mobile robots have much more advanced software and hardware, expanding their possible applications: inspection and surveillance tasks, error detection, transport of materials, storage and distribution...


And how does it perceive this information? Robotnik integrates in its robots sensors and various components that receive, process and analyse data in real time and act accordingly: elevation system, different cameras, lasers or other components.

The flexibility of AMR to work in different locations means, for example, not changing the layout, easier scalability of the number of units and work zones or a clear definition of ROI (especially measurable in small projects that can be scaled up later). Moreover, AMR does not need a specific infrastructure to move around, but can be implemented in any space.

AGV are the predecessors of AMR and have been evolving since the 1950s. They are typically used for the transport of heavy loads, but run on a rail or belt and with a predetermined route. Another feature of the most advanced AGVs is that they are capable of detecting obstacles, but not of re-routing: when encountering an obstacle, the robot will stop.

Where are AGVs and AMR used?

Industrial environments are complicated, changing and full of obstacles. It is essential to be able to ensure the safety of operators.

Moreover, AMR and AGVs have different navigation systems and therefore behave and interact differently.

AGVs are suitable for workspaces with a large number of fixed tasks, as they require installation of the infrastructure through which they will move.

In collaborative and dynamic environments where both humans and machines are needed, customers often opt for AMRs because of their ability to adapt to a changing environment. A mobile robot receives, understands and manages data from the environment in real time, so it is more flexible and has a wider working area.


How to determine the best solution for a company?

By evaluating the environment, the scenario in which it will be deployed and the specific tasks to be performed by the AMR.

AGVs and AMRs have different applications. In general, AGVs are more effective for less complex tasks such as transporting raw materials, packaging, sorting or delivery. But always with predetermined tasks and routes.

AMR is the best choice for tasks that require Artificial Intelligence. Precisely, it is AI that makes these robots have infinite applications in different sectors: logistics, inspection and maintenance, agriculture or construction, among others.

In conclusion, Industry 4.0 is moving towards increasingly intelligent automation in which autonomous robots have become a key tool for Smart Factories.

manipuladores móviles autónomos

Mobile manipulators: the intelligent production for your factory

What exactly is a robot manipulator and what are the real benefits of mobile manipulators?

Robotics and mobile manipulation are on an ever-spinning wheel, advancing to better adapt to the needs of users. Robotnik has been a pioneer in the design and development of autonomous mobile manipulators which, in short, are a natural evolution arising from the union of cobots and AMR.

This article clarifies questions such as what is a manipulator in robotics, what are the advantages of Robotnik’s mobile manipulators and other questions of interest.

What were fixed robots a few years ago, evolved into collaborative robots and now Robotnik is already designing and manufacturing more cognitive, responsive and safer flexible mobile robots that lead the industry hand in hand towards the fourth industrial revolution.

As a robotics company founded in 2002, Robotnik has extensive experience in autonomous mobile manipulation and maintains business relationships with leading companies such as Universal Robots, Schunk, Kinova or Senserbot.

An example of mobile manipulation integration in industry is one of Robotnik’s recent success stories, based on an industrial implementation at the Dutch gear production company Hankamp Gears BV. It features Robotnik’s best-selling autonomous mobile manipulator, the RB-KAIROS+, which is discussed in more detail below.


What is an autonomous mobile manipulator robot?

A robot manipulator is basically a robot that integrates a robotic manipulator arm into a mobile platform, combining in a single product the advantages offered by both systems: the precision, dexterity and flexibility of one, and the autonomy and mobility of the other.

Collaborative mobile manipulation is now a reality available to all companies competing in the Industry 4.0 framework. These are autonomous mobile manipulators prepared to work safely in environments where people are present. Their capacity to carry out mechanical and repetitive tasks, covering complete work shifts, make them essential tools for any industry that wishes to position itself at the technological forefront and occupy a relevant position in today’s market.


Mobile Manipulator applications in industry

  • Handling – Pick & Place
  • Loading / positioning
  • Assembly
  • Screwing, drilling…
  • Inspection and testing
manipulador movil atornillado

Advantages of Robotnik’s mobile manipulators

The company’s portfolio includes mobile manipulation robots for industrial and R&D applications such as the RB-VOGUI+, XL-GEN or the RB-KAIROS+.

Some of the advantages of Robotnik’s mobile manipulators:

  • Easy configuration and installation, adapting to the needs of each customer, with open software and hardware.
  • Collaborative: collaborative mobile manipulators are perfect for sharing workspace with people in total safety.
  • FMS (Fleet Management System) to make it possible to coordinate a fleet of robots sharing the same workspace and resources.
  • HMI (Advanced User Interface) to generate maps and redefine routes and waypoints.
  • Autonomy: its activity complements or replaces, if necessary, the activity carried out by any worker during 1 or more shifts.
  • Omnidirectional movement that allows time reduction, making it 1/5 times faster than a differential one.
  • Free navigation as opposed to the fixed routes of traditional AGVS.
  • Advanced intelligent functions such as people tracking, coupling to machinery or voice communication, among others.

Within Robotnik’s portfolio of mobile manipulators, there is a model that stands out.

RB-KAIROS+: Robotnik’s most requested mobile manipulator
This innovative collaborative mobile manipulator is specially designed for the development of industrial applications. RB-KAIROS+ is the robot for logistics and industrial mobile manipulation, for Pick&Place, Fetch & Carry, Machine Tending or operations on large parts, among others.


Competitive advantages of the RB-KAIROS+:

As well as having all the advantages mentioned in the previous point, common to all mobile manipulators in Robotnik’s portfolio, these are some of the benefits that customers of the RB-KAIROS+ have highlighted after its use:

  • Versatility, increased profitability and improved production processes due to the possibilities of integrating the entirety of UR’s e-Series arms with the autonomous mobile platform.
    The AMR is UR+ certified, ready for the integration of a UR e-Series arm.
    Universal Robots is one of the giants in collaborative robotic arm manufacturing. Its cobots are safe, flexible and easy to use, so the synergy between the two companies has allowed the development of Robotnik’s most demanded mobile manipulator: the RB-KAIROS+.
  • Easy to configure and adaptable: The open software and hardware in ROS, implies a much simpler set-up than other mobile manipulators. This turns the robotic arm into a mobile manipulator in an intuitive way.
  • Increased efficiency in tasks such as pick&place. With a payload of up to 250 kg, it adds value in handling heavy loads and automating storage tasks.
  • Collaborative: This mobile manipulator is completely autonomous and allows the robotic arm to work in different locations, extending its work area, making it perfect for sharing workspace and tasks with humans.


Incorporating mobile manipulation into your industrial plant?

In recent years, the number of industries automating their production lines by incorporating one or more mobile manipulators into their plant has grown considerably.

To find the solution that best suits your specific needs, Robotnik offers a free consultation service without compromise, in which the professionals will advise you personally.

In any case, there are some key aspects that you can take into account to assess the feasibility before deciding:

  1. What is your environment like?
    A working environment can be structured or unstructured.
    Structured means that the robot will not encounter many unexpected obstacles around it, i.e., there will be no modifications to the layout so that the robot maintains the landmarks that allow it to position itself.
    If it is unstructured, the robot will only be able to avoid dynamic, i.e. unexpected, obstacles if it maintains around 20% of the reference points. When it detects them, it will intelligently re-route its path, ensuring safety and cost-effective working time.
  2. What features does the building need to have?
    The floor is a very important aspect to take into account, as uneven floors affect the accuracy of the odometry and the vibrations generated by the laser measurement. In addition, mechanical wheels may have some limitations in some environments: oily or greasy floors, very dirty, gritty or rough floors.
    Walls and shelves are important for the robot to navigate the floor, locating and mapping simultaneously. Robotnik’s mobile manipulators will take these as a reference and a variation of no more than 20% from the original layout will not affect the robot’s performance.
    On the first day, the robot is walked around the site, moving it in a teleoperated way with a remote control and generating a real route that will be the basis for the future navigation of the robot.
    Aspects such as the dimensions of the corridors or the height of the doors must be adapted to the robot’s footprint. The omni-directional wheels are another great advantage of Robotnik’s mobile manipulator because of their 360° versatility, especially for industrial applications where the robot can easily move in small aisles, for example.
  3. How much precision does your application require?
    By default, the positional accuracy provided by LiDAR for SLAM navigation is about 5 to 10 cm. This accuracy may be sufficient for a normal application where the robot simply transits from point A to point B or goes to several waiting points. But for specific applications such as Pick&Place or interaction with other machinery, this accuracy can be improved up to 1 mm.
    This is achieved by adding sensors or QR codes. This is done, for example, for docking: we add a code that the camera recognises and is able to relocate.
  4. How much payload do you need to carry?
    Each Robotnik mobile manipulator has a different payload capacity, so you can find the best robot option depending on the payload you require.
    Specifically, the standard configuration of RB-KAIROS+ has a payload of up to 250 kg. Other versions are also available with collaborative arms with payloads of 3 kg, 5 kg and 16 kg.
  5. How are work shifts set up?
    One of the great benefits of Robotnik’s mobile manipulators is that, with the right fleet of robots – optimised in number of units – it is possible to work full 24-hour shifts. The robots will perform automatic battery charging when necessary. The robot is equipped with a charging station to which it can be connected autonomously. It is possible to command the robot to perform a charging action, to launch a terminal, to launch wirelessly, to launch an industrial protocol as a rest or also to launch the Universal Robots poliscope interface.


Mobile manipulation is a definite boost on the way to Industry 4.0, also known as connected industry.
The use of mobile manipulators promotes flexible and intelligent industrial automation that increases the competitiveness of a factory by making better use of its resources.

Robotnik is not only committed to automation, but also to intelligent automation, which involves developing mobile robots capable of self-managing and making decisions without human intervention.

aplicaciones roboticas en agricultura

Robotics applications in agriculture

Innovation in terms of robotics applications in agriculture has advanced considerably in the last 5 years.

The objective of agricultural robotics is to help the sector in its efficiency and in the profitability of the processes. In other words, mobile robotics works in the agricultural sector to improve productivity, specialization and environmental sustainability.

Labor shortages, increased consumer demand and high production costs are some of the factors that have accelerated automation in this sector, with the aim of reducing costs and optimizing harvests.

Did you know that up to 99% of phytosanitary products are currently wasted because they cover the entire field? Agricultural robotics is capable, for example, of spraying pesticides only to the plants that need them. This is just one example of how very concrete benefits can be seen in sectors that are traditionally not very automated.


The incorporation of robotics in agriculture improves both productivity and working conditions for farmers and workers. Intelligent systems are becoming the ideal solution to drive precision agriculture. Today, a large number of agricultural operations are already being done autonomously.

Thus, collaborative robots are now commonly used in fruit harvesting or insect grafting and cultivation, where Artificial Intelligence provides predictive data to optimize farms and plantations.


Types of robots used in agriculture

These are some applications of robotics in agriculture for which Robotnik robots are used:

  • Crop condition identification and corresponding chemical application, spraying or harvesting, as required by the fruit or plant.
  • Mobile manipulation through collaborative arms (harvesting, fruit handling).
  • Collection and conversion of useful information for the farmer.
  • Selective application of pesticides.
  • Selection to avoid food waste


R&D for agricultural robotics

Since 2002, Robotnik has participated in more than 60 research projects, most of them at European level. Currently, some 30 projects of different nature are underway: some with objectives oriented to logistics, others to the health sector or also to the agri-food sector, among others. This makes it possible to use intelligent, autonomous and collaborative mobile robots that enable the creation of more efficient industrial processes with a better use of resources, which translates into higher productivity in general.

Examples of agriculture robotics R&D projects in which Robotnik is involved:

BACCHUS: Mobile Robotic Platforms for Active Inspection and Harvesting in Agricultural Areas.

BACCHUS intelligent mobile robotic system promises to replicate manual harvesting operations, while eliminating manual labor by operating autonomously on four different levels:

  • The robot autonomously navigates to inspect crops and collect data from the agricultural area through its integrated sensor system.
  • The robot performs bi-manual harvesting operations with the finesse required by the environment.
  • Additive manufacturing is employed to adjust the robot gripper to the geometry of different crops.
  • Presentation of advanced cognitive capabilities and decision-making skills.

agriculture robot

This R&D project employs the RB-VOGUI autonomous mobile robot with two fully integrated arms. The platform is used to develop a solution for grape harvesting in vineyards.

AGROBOFOOD: Digital transformation of the European agri-food sector through the adoption of robotic technologies.

Through robotics applications in agriculture, it aims to accelerate the digital transformation of the European agri-food sector. It will consolidate, expand and strengthen the current ecosystem by establishing a sustainable network of DIHs (Digital Innovation Hubs).
Robotnik is leading the experiment based on the SUMMIT-XL outdoor mobile platform, which is equipped with a series of sensors that will be used to collect information from the environment of an olive grove to maximize the olive yield.


COROSECT: Cognitive robotic system for digitized insect farms.

Agricultural robotic application to optimize insect production facilities as a possible solution to the environmental impact of high meat consumption.

The project will use state-of-the-art robotic equipment and artificial intelligence technologies to automate production. The project focuses on the idea of setting up dynamic work cells, where a single human worker will be assisted by several robots equipped with artificial intelligence algorithms and intelligent sensors at different stages of insect production.

Aplicaciones roboticas en medicina

Applications of robotics in medicine

The incorporation of robotics in healthcare environments is becoming increasingly common. Currently, task automation is adapted to any sector and robotics in medicine is frequently used thanks, in part, to the evolution of technologies such as 5G, AI or augmented reality.

The use of robots in hospitals has become a mainstay for the healthcare sector, especially in recent times. Robotics applications in medicine, and in hospitals in particular, have experienced a definite boost in the fight against COVID-19.

Mobile robotics applications have also become tools that greatly improve the quality of life and provide autonomy to dependent people.
Mobile robots can even be adapted to robotic or motorized shower systems for people with functional disabilities to enable them to shower on their own by giving commands to the robot.

Collaborative mobile robots can also become excellent hospital assistants, providing support in operating rooms, ICUs or risky areas for the healthcare team

What is the use of robots in hospitals? What kind of robots are being used in medicine?

Collaborative robotics applied to the healthcare sector is an excellent tool that greatly improves the quality of life and provides autonomy to dependent people. Collaborative mobile robots, for example, can be adapted to robotic or motorized shower systems for people with functional disabilities, allowing them to shower on their own by giving commands to the robot.

We are also talking about advantages such as administrative support, early detection of certain diseases, predictive systems or patient monitoring.

Types of robots in hospitals

Some of the tasks in the health sector for which Robotnik robots are used would be:

  • Food transport and supply support.
  • Cleaning or disinfection tasks.
  • Storage and distribution of medicines.
  • Surgical assistance.
  • Administrative and logistical tasks that are routine and burden the healthcare workers.
  • Tele-assistance.


robot móvil en hospital

R&D for healthcare robotics

Since 2002, Robotnik has participated in more than 60 research projects, most of them at European level. Currently, some 30 projects of different nature are underway: some with objectives oriented to logistics, others to the health sector or also to the agri-food sector, among others. This makes it possible to use intelligent, autonomous and collaborative mobile robots that enable the creation of more efficient industrial processes with a better use of resources, which translates into higher productivity in general.

Examples of robotics R&D projects in medicine in which Robotnik participates:

PHARAON: Pilots for healthy and active aging.

PHARAON aims to contribute to improving the aging conditions of the European population by creating a set of open and customizable platforms with advanced services, devices and tools including IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing, smart devices, Big Data and intelligent analytics.

Robotnik will provide its mobile platforms so that they can be used in the pilots, in addition to assisting with the integration of the technology developed within the project. These robots will be tested in various hospitals in Europe.



ENDORSE: Robotic fleet for logistics applications in healthcare and commercial spaces.

Indoor spaces such as hospitals, hotels and offices offer great potential for the commercial exploitation of logistics robotics. Four pillars of innovation are being pursued in this project:

  • Multi-robot navigation without infrastructure, i.e., minimal (if any) installation of sensors and communication buses inside the building for locating robots, targets and docking stations.
  • Advanced HRI to resolve deadlocks and achieve efficient sharing of spatial resources in crowded spaces.
    Implementation of ENDORSE software as a cloud-based service that facilitates integration with corporate software solutions such as ERP, CRM, etc.
  • Reconfigurable and modular hardware architectures so that various modules can be easily interchanged.
  • Robotnik will develop the modular hardware interfaces that will support the Robotnik RB-1 BASE mobile robot, so that different functional modules can be easily interchanged.

rb-1 base


ODIN: Transforming the future of healthcare in Europe's hospitals through AI.

This project addresses 11 hospital care challenges by seeking solutions that combine robotics, IoT and AI.
In this case, the application of robotics in hospitals is a support to real problems faced every day by healthcare staff. For example:

  • Autonomous and collaborative robots can reduce the workload of overburdened hospital staff.
  • Optimizing resources through shared data collection.
  • Increased patient and staff safety through tools and robots that avoid exposure to hazardous areas.
  • Reducing unnecessary hospital stays through the latest technologies in IoT support services and rehabilitation robots, increasing hospital planning possibilities.


Robotics applications in construction

Robotics applications in construction

The construction sector is one of the largest in the global economy. However, it is one of the slowest to start the path towards automation and digitization and, therefore, the integration of robotics in construction has been late compared to other sectors. This is due to multiple factors such as the cost of labor or the lack of planning in the processes.

Robotnik develops and manufactures AMRs that facilitate automation and the potential of construction robots give the ultimate push towards Industry 4.0.

Autonomous mobile robotics offers multiple benefits and construction robotics are already integrated in several areas: architecture, masonry, demolition, infrastructure... Some of the tasks that demand more AMR is safety and inspection, which uses technology to review and detect possible errors in real time and send the information to the system so that it can be corrected as soon as possible.

Increased accuracy, significantly increased productivity, reduced errors, meeting deadlines, reduced number of accidents and reduced costs are just some of the improvements that robotics brings to the construction industry.

Robotnik is currently working on several R&D projects whose objectives and efforts are aimed at boosting construction through mobile robotics and other cutting-edge technologies, testing real-world applications.

Types of construction robots

These are some applications of robotics in the construction industry for which Robotnik robots are used:

  • Prediction of required tasks.
  • Evaluation of the progress of a project.
  • Early detection of possible errors.
  • Automation of dangerous tasks for the operators.
  • Surveillance and inspection tasks.

R&D for robots in the construction industry

Since 2002, Robotnik has participated in more than 60 research projects, most of them at European level. Currently, some 30 projects of different nature are underway: some with logistics-oriented objectives, others in the health sector or construction, among others. This makes it possible to use intelligent, autonomous and collaborative mobile robots. And so that, the creation of more efficient industrial processes with a better use of resources, which translates into higher productivity in general.

Examples of construction robotics R&D projects in which Robotnik participates

HERON: Enhanced robotic platform for performing road maintenance and improvement works.

The objective is to develop an automated and integrated system to perform road maintenance and improvement tasks such as crack sealing, pothole patching, asphalt rejuvenation, autonomous replacement of CUD elements or marking painting.

It also provides pre- and post-intervention support, including visual inspections and automated and controlled dispensing and removal of traffic cones.

Within the project, Robotnik will design and develop an intelligent unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) capable of performing the necessary inspection and maintenance actions and will make the necessary adaptations to the robotic vehicle, not only those related to road maintenance capabilities with a collaborative arm and different equipment, but also those concerning the integration of other ΗΕRΟΝ developments into the prototype (sensor integration, UAV transport system, etc.).

PILOTING: Robotic solutions for pilots in refineries, bridges/viaducts and tunnels.

The current European refineries and civil infrastructures, such as tunnels and bridges, are undergoing a logical aging process that leads to their gradual deterioration.

PILOTING will set up large scale pilots in real industrial environments to respond directly to the main inspection and maintenance challenges. These demos are focused on improving coverage and enhance, decreasing cost and time of operations, improving inspection quality and increasing operator safety.

Robotnik is responsible for the development of the ground robotic platforms to be used in the refinery and tunneling use cases with the RISING mobile manipulator and the RB-CAR autonomous mobile robot.

inspection robot

BIMPROVE is another case of application of robotics in the construction industry. This H2020 project aims to help European industry embark on the digital transformation, leveraging Digital Twin technology to move construction sites towards Industry 4.0.

Robotnik is responsible for the development of a pioneering new autonomous mobile robot based on the SUMMIT-XL to collect indoor and outdoor environmental information on construction sites. This information will be fed into the BIMsync tool, where it will be processed and transformed into useful decision-making information.
In this way, Robotnik will develop the ground data acquisition system (route planning, localisation and positioning, safety aspects and human-machine interaction).


Success case of Robotnik and its RB-KAIROS+ in a Netherlands company

  • AER publishes in its 2021 yearbook the success story of Robotnik and its RB-KAIROS+ in a gear production company.

AER Automation is the Spanish Association of Robotics and Automation, a non-profit organization that brings together the main players in the automation and industrial, service and educational robotics market: manufacturers, distributors, engineering companies, integrators, technology centers, startups, universities, training centers and user companies.

It is a founding member of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), has the mission to promote the transformation of the productive fabric in the Spanish territory through robotics and automation technologies, as well as to establish a strategic agenda to meet the challenges of the future. It also aims to provide knowledge to improve competitiveness and business efficiency in all sectors. Finally, the association aims to ensure a fluid access of qualified young talent to Industry 4.0, also promoting the qualification of senior talent.

Robotnik, as a leading Spanish company in mobile robotics, has been a member of AER for years. For this reason, the annual edition of its INSIGHT includes one of Robotnik's recent success stories, based on an industrial implementation in the Netherlands company Hankamp Gears BV. It features the RB-KAIROS+, an autonomous mobile manipulator designed and manufactured by Robotnik specifically for industrial applications such as pick and place.


Robotnik's RB-KAIROS+ mobile manipulator, designed specifically for pick & place tasks, is incorporated into a gearbox factory.

Pick and place tasks are often among the most tedious, demanding and toughest - physically and mentally - for employees in an industrial environment. And, at the same time, they are indispensable in any manufacturing process. Robotnik has developed the RB-KAIROS+ mobile manipulator as a solution to automate this process.

During the past year, the Dutch company Hankamp Gears BV decided to incorporate autonomous and collaborative mobile robotics in its factory and thus began a relationship with the Spanish company Robotnik Automation, which has 20 years of experience in the sector.

Hankamp Gears BV carries out the entire production process of high-quality gears in-house, so their goal has always been to minimize the failure rate and potential risks that can occur during production and, in turn, reduce the delivery time and price of the parts they manufacture.

To achieve this goal, they have relied on the RB-KAIROS+ mobile manipulator as a solution to automate this part of production, since it is not only capable of performing a task without human intervention, but also of self-managing and making decisions, thanks to its ability to access, generate and process information.


The RB-KAIROS+ mobile manipulator, designed and manufactured by Robotnik, is extremely useful for industrial applications such as pick and place as it is completely autonomous and allows the robotic arm to work in different locations, expanding its work area. In addition, RB-KAIROS+ can be configured with a wide range of sensors and components that are within the UR+ ecosystem, as it is a UR+ certified product. Last but not least, another of its features is its robust steel design, which allows it to carry up to 250 kg of load.

RB-KAIROS+ will perform pick and place and handling tasks in the metal gear production line of Hankamp Gears BV.


For all these reasons, Hankamp Gears BV has included this autonomous and collaborative mobile manipulator as part of its growth strategy. Specifically, RB-KAIROS+ will handle pick and place and handling tasks in the company's metal gear production line. Thanks to the complete integration of the UR16e arm, the robot navigates autonomously between the different points of the industrial hall in a safe way, avoiding any possible obstacles that may appear.

The simplification of processes is one of the major contributions of collaborative mobile handling to industry. A workspace in which humans and robots can work together safely makes the results infinitely more efficient, facilitating the task for operators, optimizing resources, obtaining a reduction in costs and, therefore, more efficient results.

The robot's robust, steel design allows it to carry up to 250 kg of payload.


Robotnik was founded in 2002 and is currently a reference in mobile robotics in the world. The company designs, manufactures and markets autonomous and collaborative mobile robots and manipulators for industry. Its technology, professionalism and the quality of its products and services have made it present in the main international markets.

Collaborative robotics in Industry 4.0

Collaborative robotics is a reality within Industry 4.0. It demonstrates that the future of industry looks like a workspace where robots and humans work together, each bringing their own strengths to the job.

Robots are well suited to perform repetitive and precision tasks because they apply the same criteria over and over again. Industry professionals, on the other hand, have the creativity and problem-solving skills needed to solve problems. The sum of the two leads to the greatest efficiency in production processes.

In the midst of this new collaborative work environment, the RB-KAIROS+ robot has emerged as a mobile solution to expand the capabilities of Universal Robots' e-Series arms, improving the efficiency of production lines.

The synergy between Robotnik and Universal Robots has allowed the creation of RB-KAIROS+, enhancing the portfolio of Collaborative Mobile Robots (CMR) and meeting the needs of those industries that are committed to collaborative robotics, that are aware of all its advantages and that have started their path towards Industry 4.0.


RB-KAIROS+ is a mobile robotic platform designed for plug & play integration of Universal Robots' e-Series arms, which increases the flexibility of these arms, allowing them to work in different areas. This means that the robot can perform a greater number of tasks in different spaces.

It has been developed, at hardware and software level, to facilitate the installation of the robotic arm, thus obtaining a powerful and easy-to-use collaborative mobile manipulator. The robot software is integrated in Polyscope, allowing easy programming.

It is a collaborative mobile manipulator, which means that it can work in different industrial environments safely, sharing the workspace with the operators.

RB-KAIROS+ is officially certified by UR+, which guarantees its compatibility with models: UR3, UR5, UR10, UR3e, UR5e, UR10e, and UR16e.

Benefits of integrating the RB-KAIROS+ in a company

Industries that are automating their lines through collaborative robotics can expand the potential of their arms thanks to the RB-KAIROS+ mobile manipulator. These arms can perform more tasks at a greater number of sites. One of the most important factors in most industrial processes is time, which has been increasingly optimized through process automation.

As was the case in the success story in the previous article with Hankamp Gears BV, this is achieved:

  • Unlimited extension of the working space of the cobots.
  • Increased effectiveness in various industrial tasks.
  • Greater profitability and improvement in production processes due to the versatility of the robotic arms only with the acquisition of a mobile platform compatible with all the arms of the UR e-Series.
  • Since the robot shares workspace with the operators, safer industrial and working environments are created.Providing a mechanical and repetitive, yet precise and constant work rhythm.

RB-KAIROS+ in action: vídeo.

angel soriano

Interview to Ángel Soriano, manager of R&D projects at Robotnik

Ángel Soriano is the manager of several R&D projects at Robotnik Automation, the leading Spanish company in collaborative mobile robotics.

For more than 5 years, Ángel, who holds a PhD in Automation, Robotics and Industrial Informatics, has been in charge of proposal writing, development and management of several European H2020 projects.

angel soriano

In this talk he tells us about some of the new developments in research in the field of mobile robotics or the close relationship between the work in R&D and the manufacture of robots and mobile manipulators in Robotnik. This is how collaborative mobile robotics is providing solutions today.

R&D Projects

Q. At Robotnik you dedicate a large part of your efforts to R&D work through projects that require mobile robotics solutions.
What value do you consider that R&D projects bring to the robotics sector?

A. These projects play a decisive role for the sector and drive research from the two most important points of view: on the one hand, the researcher who develops the technology beyond the current state of the art and, on the other hand, the industry or party interested in applying this technology in each specific use case is directly involved.
This synergy, created from the beginning of the project, directs and orients the research towards results that are tangible, demonstrable and applicable for the industry and interesting for the further evolution of the autonomous mobile robotics sector.

Q. At the moment, what are the European R&D projects that you coordinate within Robotnik?

A. At Robotnik we are involved in about 30 R&D projects of different nature where we are mainly in charge of the development of robotic platforms and related technology. I personally, participate in the development of several of the projects that Robotnik has open, most of them are European projects within the H2020 framework, but I am in charge of coordinating 4 of them:

FASTER: the objective is to address a series of challenges that arise in dangerous situations for human teams working in emergencies. It is a project oriented to offer and apply new technologies such as aerial and ground robots for rescue operations carried out by emergency teams in cases such as earthquakes, floods or closed buildings.


ODIN: this project is oriented to the integration of technologies for hospital services, mainly through Artificial Intelligence. Here, autonomous mobile robots will provide services ranging from logistics support to interaction with patients and staff.

BACCHUS: we have seen how the incorporation of mobile robotics in agriculture has made significant progress in recent years. BACCHUS seeks to automate high-precision selective harvesting by means of mobile manipulation robotics, trying to imitate the same mechanics performed by an operator, i.e., using two coordinated arms for harvesting.

ODYSSEUS: this is one of the most recent projects we have entered into and is still at a very early stage. It is a safety project aimed at detecting gases or highly explosive elements through the use of sensorized UGVs specifically for this purpose.


Q. Autonomous mobile robots play a key role in all these projects. Tell us about some of the Robotnik robots involved and what exactly they contribute.

A. The RB-CAR in FASTER is a vehicle oriented for outdoor rescue operations that can navigate autonomously by GPS to explore unknown areas, create in real time a 3D map of the environment and stream the different sensors it incorporates -thermal camera, stereo camera or 3D Lidar- to the control station where the vehicle operator would be located. In addition, it can accommodate two crew members and can be driven manually.

One of the features is that the vehicle initially stores a secure GPS position, where the control station would be installed, and can be driven while testing the environment. Once something of interest is found, the driver gets out of the vehicle to attend to the situation in question and can send the autonomous robot back to the safe position where it started, i.e. acting as a mule vehicle transporting materials from one point to another.

SUMMIT-XL is another of the autonomous robots participating in FASTER.  Being a smaller vehicle than the RB-CAR, it is oriented towards indoor exploration, although it has also been used in outdoor scenarios. The SUMMIT-XL also offers autonomous GPS navigation and 3D mapping while streaming video from the built-in thermal and steerable RGB cameras.


At ODIN we use the RB-1 BASE platform. It is one of the indoor mobile robots in charge of moving autonomously around the hospital for transporting goods, monitoring instruments or interacting with staff.

We also have the RB-VOGUI XL robot at BACCHUS which is a bi-arm robot, the RISING at ODYSSEUS....


Q. You mentioned that since 2002 Robotnik has been part of more than 60 research projects at the European level. What are the main challenges facing mobile robotics/manipulation in these R&D projects?

A. Autonomous robotics advances as its technological context does. Right now we are in a super interesting moment where 5G, Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality or 3D navigation, for example, allow important progress for robotics. 

In my opinion, these are the 3 main challenges we are facing in project development:

  • Dynamic and unpredictable environments. This is one of the most critical factors when offering a solution applicable to different scenarios or use cases. Here, mobile robotics goes hand in hand with AI.
  • Sensing technology is advancing rapidly but does not yet offer solutions with the precision required for some applications.
  • The technology transition gap between the research community and end users. It is complicated today to offer products or results of these projects that are within the reach of the knowledge and usability of a non-expert user in the field. There is still a long way to go to relax the usability gap between the technology provider and the end user.

By sectors

Q. Collaborative robotics applications have become a determining factor for the growth of companies in different sectors. For example, what is the contribution of robotics in the logistics sector?

A. In indoor logistics, the autonomous organization of warehouses and the internal transport of goods is the order of the day. In addition, the innovation lies in the fact that mobile vehicles that used to move along a fixed track within an assembly line, e.g. Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs), are now Autonomous Mobile Vehicles as developed and manufactured by Robotnik, so they can move freely on the ground, can modify their trajectory and offer greater flexibility. This means that the customer does not need to modify the environment or install anything in particular to do so.

In this field, the fleet of heterogeneous robots that can autonomously coordinate with each other to perform tasks optimally is one of the most in-vogue research at the moment.


One of the most popular robots aimed at indoor environments is the RB-1 BASE. A differential robot that can navigate autonomously moving shelves or goods with a payload of up to 50 kg.

Outdoor logistics is where we find the greatest advances in recent years in terms of the application of mobile robotics. We can already see in operation applications oriented to the last mile -such as AUDERE- with autonomous robots transporting goods or packages during the last part of the route or short journeys for tasks such as picking up garbage, delivering packages, picking up fruits...

The RB-VOGUI platform is one of the most widely used mobile robots in outdoor logistics. It can navigate autonomously and, with a manipulator arm mounted on top of the base, it is able to interact with objects in the environment, picking up garbage from the ground or samples of interest. 

There are other topics, such as road freight transport, where there is still some way to go, although it is true that research is working on it, so results will certainly be obtained in the near future. 



Q. And what about the security and defense sector?

A. In this case, robotics tries to offer tools that mitigate the dangers faced by people working in these sectors with two main ideas. On the one hand, sending the robot to the critical scenario first rather than the human, basically because if something goes wrong, it affects the robot and not the human. And on the other hand, to work in the affected area trying not to contaminate it.


Q. You also mentioned earlier the great advances that have been made in the agricultural sector.

A. Automation in the agricultural sector is not really new, there are many large machines, trucks, tractors with specialized machinery for harvesting fruits and vegetables.

But the results of these machines cannot be compared with the work done by the operators who are specialized in the field. The operator knows just by looking at the fruit if it is ready to be picked or if it needs more time to be riper. Or which grape is the best for wine production.
This is the birth of precision agriculture in which robotics offers many advantages.
Apart from the obvious advantages such as working without human supervision or working at night, the main idea is to provide autonomous robots with the ability to identify, as humans do, the best option to act with the environment.

As I said before, within the BACCHUS project, the RB-VOGUI XL mounts two manipulator arms to harvest autonomously as a human would. Using one arm as the hand that holds the scissors and cuts the bunch and in the other the final effect that has to act as a hand, picking up the whole bunch.


Ángel Soriano has participated, presented and defended papers in several national robotics conferences such as the annual Jornadas de Automática organized by the Comisión Española de Automática (CEA), and international conferences such as the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) or The World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), among others. Author of book chapters in Advances on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence. Author and co-author of several articles published in high impact international journals such as Robotics and Autonomous Systems, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics or Sensors. He has been a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia for more than 5 years, associated with several research projects of the national plan of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. He has been a senior technician in the Robotics Laboratory of the Institute of Automation and Industrial Informatics of the Polytechnic City of Innovation and has been an associate professor at the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation of the Polytechnic University of Valencia for more than 2 years.