Mitsubishi Electric announced that it has developed a technology for controlling in-building mobile robots used for cleaning, security, delivery and guidance, as well as next-generation electric wheelchairs.
The company said in a release that it is using building dynamic maps to achieve “cooperative interaction” between the robots and building facilities, such as elevators and access control systems.
“By supporting the safe, efficient movement of people and In-Building Mobilities in buildings, the new technology is expected to reduce the workloads of building-management personnel and help realize smart buildings in which people and robots coexist safely. Going forward, Mitsubishi Electric will continue developing the technology in collaboration with developers and mobility manufacturers, aiming to introduce a commercial service after March 2021,” Mitsubishi Electric said.
Mitsubishi Electric’s newly developed building dynamic map is utilized to control the movements of multiple In-Building Mobilities, or robots, within a building. When the robots use elevators or pass by each other in narrow aisles, the system automatically guides them along the best routes to avoid hitting other robots, entering prohibited areas or boarding crowded elevators. When passing through an access-control gate, the system uses the map to prioritize the movements of people as well as to prevent collisions.
In addition, elevators and access-control systems are linked to coordinate the efficient and safe movement of robots among people throughout the building, including when moving between floors.
The system also identifies the locations of robots, including when they break down, by recording the operations of elevators as well as the ‘bots to visualize each unit’s location on the building dynamic map, to further reduce building-management workloads.
Animated lighting is displayed on the floors in front of elevators to help people anticipate the movements of robots that are getting on and off the elevators, allowing people to safely enter and exit elevators together with the robots. Animated lighting is also displayed as robots move in other areas, allowing people to pass safely even in narrow passageways or in poor visibility.