June 12, 2020
Shimizu Corporation (President: Kazuyuki Inoue) has developed an integrated technology to control elevators and other building equipment to communicate with various autonomous robots through a common software interface in order to create a robot-supported building that can enhance many kinds of services using robots. This technology was implemented in the main building of the Shimizu Institute of Technology (Koto-ku, Tokyo). It enables the robots to autonomously enter and exit the elevator as well as to pass through the narrow corridors in order through mutual adjustment within building, promoting the simultaneous introduction of various service robots in the same building.
Recently, the use of service robot to assist with building services such as building security, cleaning, guide services as well as package deliveries is highlighted as a labor-saving innovation for solving social problems in the advance of an aging society. Moreover, the impact from the novel coronavirus has resulted in a social environment that requires stronger measures to combat the spread and the need for contactless service using robots is expected to rise even more in the future.
While several examples of building services using robots have been introduced, most of robots were unable to travel to other floors without human assistance that restricted their range of services. Although, some solution was developed for individual robot to communicate directly elevator to solve this problem, it makes a challenge for various types of robots to do the same way and be able to provide their service in a same building simultaneously.
Shimizu is focusing on research and development of the autonomous operating platform for linking self-driving vehicles and autonomous robots within buildings and communities. The new integrated control technology has been developed based on this platform. Using the API (Application Programming Interface) of the autonomous operating platform, the operation management software of vehicles and robots can link to the high-precision 3D point cloud map, automated operation control and monitoring system, the elevator control system and other equipment systems. As a result, it achieves the coordinated movement by various types of robots freely travel between floors in a building.
Shimizu has implemented two different types of robots (a developing logistics robot “Logiee*” produced by Tier IV, Inc., which is working with Shimizu to develop the autonomous operating platform; a commercial guidance robot “YUNJI SAIL” provided by NEC Networks & System Integration Corporation) and an elevator in the main building of the Shimizu Institute of Technology via the API of the autonomous operating platform. A test was conducted to confirm that these robots could provide the different services simultaneously becoming mobile between floors within the building. The technique of automatic generation of the high-precision 3D point cloud data from the BIM (Building Information Modelling) data were also verified in the application of robot self-location.
In buildings where this technology has been introduced, the service robot providers will no longer need to develop any system to link the robots to the building equipment. This will make it easy to enhance the new services using robots and be expected to improve convenience for end users as well as to increase building values. In the future, Shimizu plans to expand the building equipment and service robots that operate via this integrated control technology and intend to enlist the participation of robot service providers in joint of the proof-of-concept testing.
Logiee connects to the autonomous operating platform via the operation management system on Tier IV’s cloud.
About Tier IV, Inc.
Tier IV, Inc. was established in December 2015 as a venture company that originated at Nagoya University. It is the company that led the development of the Autoware*, the world’s first open source software for autonomous driving. Tier IV aims to build an ecosystem that can contribute to the development of autonomous driving technology by many organizations and individuals.
Autoware is a registered trademark of The Autoware Foundation.
Integrated control technology of building equipment and robots installed in the main building of the Shimizu Institute of Technology
Proof-of-concept testing in the main building of the Shimizu Institute of Technology
Video of reading material delivery service and visitor guide service tests (in Japanese 5:12）
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