Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Service Robotics is still very much in its infancy


According to Innovation News Daily these are the Top 7 Useful Robots You Can Buy Right Now. You can read the explanation of each one of them here.











It’s very obvious that the service robotics field is very much in its infancy.  Basically toys (with the exception of the tele-presence robot), these represent what are currently considered, the top most useful robots. It is clear we can do much, much better.

The technology, is much more advanced, not only in the academic world but also in the industrial one, and can provide much more service to humanity. I guess it takes time to arrive to the market.

Another completely different picture would be if we could say that the 7 top useful robots are for:

  •  Autonomous scrubber machines
  •  Semi-autonomous and autonomous fork-lifts
  •  Security robots
  •  Companion robots
  •  Autonomous robots for ware houses
  •  Autonomous lawn mowers
  •  Autonomous tractors

As I see it, there are two basic obstacles that hinder real world market application:

  • The security SICK laser sensor is currently mandatory for autonomous robots – if we want the ability to perceive the world, and therefore show a bit of intelligence. It costs almost 3000 euros. While not without its drawbacks, this sensor represents the  state of the art and is the most expensive component in a current autonomous robot.   If we produce robots as prototypes, not on a large scale, we can not provide inexpensive robots yet.
  • The technology is developed but not integrated completely yet, and therefore not completely tested.

The solution for these problems are:

  • By decreasing the price of the SICK laser, service robots would be would be more affordable, the resulting growth and popularity should in-turn result in greater unit sales.
  • To infuse funds to integrate and test the technologies which used in corporations and the academic world.

Our experience in both the academic (20 years) and corporate world (5 years), at Cognitive Robots is allowing us to provide this integration to bring the service robotics into the next stage.

We are actively looking for partnerships and investors. If you are interested in positioning yourself at the leading edge of service robotics with us, please contact me at mtescrig@c-robots.com

2 Responses to 'Service Robotics is still very much in its infancy'

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  1. I am curious about the comment that the SICK sensor is mandatory . How so ? A variety of other sensors (thermal,audio,video ) could be leveraged. Every few years since the mid fifties the robotics craze has struck in one way or another. It lasts a few years and then withdraws only to morph back again. My question to the community is why is this market even hotter now then the last time the craze hit ? There are probably 100 or more new companies with bits and pieces of a solution set . Let’s understand the why now aspect ? Is this finally the time ?

    James falasco

    2 May 12 at 8:46 pm

  2. Hi Jim, The SICK laser sensor is still mandatory for robots or vehicles that need to show intelligence because:

    – it’s the most reliable distance sensor for medium-long distances, much more than sonar or infrared (which is basically useful for very short distances)

    – it’s necessary to perceive the boundaries of the environment to autonomously build the map of it. The map is necessary for the robot to know where things are.

    – The linear laser, such as SICK, has also drawbacks. The main one is that it only perceives one line.

    – The best way to go would be to have all the information needed and interpreted from a camera, much less expensive, and with richer information.

    – Although we have developed a cognitive vision system which gives meaning to the objects of an image, and with two cameras you can get distances to objects, we still need further development and some integration to use only camera.

    – We have also integrated into the Cognitive Brain the kinect sensor with great success. It gives us depth in a conical area in front of the robot, although with short reach (then we can’t see the limits of the rooms) and very sensitive to light changes (no good for exterior yet).

    Summary: We use laser, kinect and camera sensors. We can’t avoid the laser yet, which is the most expensive component of the whole robot, by far.

    I am sure that with more development we can make the camera work to completely substitute the laser. I would love to do it.

    Teresa Escrig

    2 May 12 at 9:59 pm

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