September 10, 2021
Shimizu Corporation（President: Kazuyuki Inoue）has developed an autonomous delivery robot that delivers goods without human-powered hauling in the building. The autonomous delivery robot features user-friendly loading and unloading user interface（UI）, automated delivery, and the ability to link to building systems. It controls automatic doors and elevators along the route, enabling seamless delivery from the sender to the receiver. Shimizu will implement the robot in real indoor environments to refine its UI and robotic navigation system, with aiming to apply the system, as a delivery solution for offices and other kind of buildings.
In Japan, the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s shrinking labor pool have hastened efforts to develop delivery solutions in a building that use autonomous robots, and a number of companies are conducting experiments of robotic navigation systems that link to building systems. However, many of them have not succeed in the feature development considering user experience in delivery service such as UI streamlined delivery process and communication system of robot’s operation status.
To solve these issues, Shimizu developed an autonomous delivery robot that integrates user experience, link to building systems and indoor robotic navigation. For user experience, the development team optimized design elements which suit the environment of an office building. These elements included the size of the robot and its cargo space, the loading and unloading mechanisms of both software and hardware, and the communication system of robot’s operation status. For linking to building systems, the team used our autonomous operating platform that integrates the building systems with the robot. For indoor robotic navigation, Shimizu teamed up with Panasonic, which is developing its own autonomous robots for social implementation, and used their fleet management system and autonomous technology.
Shimizu’s system works as follows. First, the user opens the robot’s door and the user interface embedded in the cargo space appears. This user interface is equipped with a camera and package registration screen. Next, the user loads one or more packages into the cargo space. The user inputs each package into the system by holding a package ticket（a 2D barcode）in front of the camera as a barcode scanner . The system then determines the appropriate route by analyzing the order in which packages were loaded and the destination for each package. With the sending procedure completed, the user closes the door and the robot starts running freely to the destinations. Opening any automatic doors and operating any elevators along the way. Mounted on the side of the robot is a large panel that displays the robot’s status, allowing office inhabitants to check the status at a glance. In this way, the robot navigates the office and delivers packages seamlessly.
Shimizu will expand the system to office buildings and other kind of buildings with improving applicability of the system while gathering knowledge from the logistics service providers.
Autonomous delivery robot
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