The objective of robots@home is to provide an open mobile platform for the massive introduction of robots into the homes of everyone. The groundbreaking innovations are: (1) A scaleable, affordable platform in response to the different application scenarios of the four industrial partners: domotics, security, food delivery, and elderly care. (2) An embedded perception system providing multi-modal sensor data for learning and mapping of the rooms and classifying the main items of furniture. (3) A safe and robust navigation method that finally sets the case for using the platform in homes everywhere. The system is tested in four homes and at a large furniture store, e.g., IKEA. Developers as well as lay persons will show the robot around, indicate rooms and furniture and then test the capabilities by commanding to go to the refrigerator or dining table.
The results of the robots@home project lead to an affordable, scaleable and versatile platform that is targeted for marketing in two to three years after project end open to any application that requires the safe navigation capability.
The scenario-driven approach is inspired by recent work in cognitive science, neuroscience and animal navigation: a hierarchical cognitive map incorporates topological, metric and semantic information. It builds on structural features observed in a newly developed dependable embedded stereo vision system complimented by time-of-flight and sonar/infrared sensors. This solution will be developed along three progressively more challenging milestones leading up to a mobile platform that learns four homes, navigates safely and heads for at least ten annotated pieces of furniture.