Service robots for operations and support
Service robots are created to assist humans in laborious and potentially dangerous tasks. These robots usually perform straightforward and repetitive actions without much interaction with people. However, when service robots are operating in daily human environments and interacting with people frequently, such as house-cleaning robots, delivery robots, and personal assistant robots, they fall into the scope of HRI research.
Cleaning robots, such as those used in households like Roomba, have become increasingly popular as personal service robots. These robots are equipped with features like dust sensors, cliff sensors, and two wheels, enabling them to move around and clean the house without explicit interaction with humans. Some cleaning robots like Scooba are designed to mop the floor. The emergence of commercial service robots has provided engineers with opportunities to investigate how people interact with and respond to such robots in real-life situations. Engineers have studied user habits and how they prepare their homes to make the cleaning robot more effective. They have also observed users’ views on the cleaning robot as a technology and how they expect the robot to interact with them.
A video that describes the engineering behind cleaning robots:
Delivery robots are designed to transport items from one location to another. Amazon has implemented these robots within their warehouses, and they are also utilized in hospitals such as the Aetheon TUG robot. Some hotels have also begun using these robots to deliver items to guest rooms. Recently, mobile robots have been introduced in San Francisco, California to deliver meals via Yelp’s Eat24 app. Additionally, Starship robots are now delivering food, drinks, parcels and other items on corporate and academic campuses around the world. While there are numerous start-ups seeking to provide delivery robots, they can often pose an inconvenience to bystanders who must navigate around them on already congested city streets.
An example of delivery service that utilizes robots for delivery:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.