What is the future of service robots?

August 01, 2018 // By Michele Windsor
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) forecasts that sales of service robots will grow between 20 and 25 per cent by 2020. Having already significantly impacted the agriculture, surgery and logistics sectors, service robots are expected to offer greater assistive capability and value in the future.

The International Organisation for Standardisation defines a service robot as, “a robot that performs useful tasks for humans or equipment, excluding industrial automation applications”. It’s predicted that these types of robots will play a greater role in the maintenance, security and rescue markets, but interestingly, the latest sector to embrace automation and robotics is tourism.

Italy’s first robot concierge, Robby Pepper, has been employed to answer the frequent questions from the guests at a popular hotel resort. Programmed to understand and respond in Italian, English and German, Robby has been taught the locations of spas, restaurants and opening times to relieve overwhelmed staff during the summer tourist season.

This is just one example of how the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics is being utilised to improve the services offered across sectors.

Specialist robots like Robby are often required to be autonomous and free from an alternating current (AC) supply. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) therefore integrate portable batteries into their designs to power service robots.

The problem is that, as manufacturers create more intuitive robots, the power demands for these devices become significantly greater and often beyond the capability of many existing power sources.

At Ultralife, we understand that being able to reliably power a robotic system is important to avoid the financial burden of unexpected downtime, reprogramming and maintenance. This is why we created the range of primary, non-rechargeable, Lithium Thionyl Chloride and Lithium Manganese Dioxide cells and batteries.

These batteries can be integrated by OEMs and design engineers as backup batteries into service robot applications to ensure safe operation. Users also have the added benefit of the batteries featuring Ultralife’s Smart Circuit technology. This smart functionality provides users with critical information including cycle count, remaining run-time and remaining capacity, for added safety.


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