Toyota Wants To Build Semi-Intelligent Lifestyle Support Robots
28 September 2017 - motor1
They're here to help. Really.
The robots are coming, and you have Toyota to thank for it. The automaker has teamed up with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) to look into various applications for what are being called partner robots. No, not that kind of partner – these machines will assist people in everyday activities, from in-home duties such as housework to serving the general population at public venues. In short, Toyota will provide the brawn in the form of a Human Support Robot (HSR), while NTT provides the brain with a form of AI technology developed by the company.
Physically, the robot will have the ability to move, pick-up items from the floor, retrieve objects that are some distance away, and communicate with people. While Toyota is creating an actual robot with these capabilities, NTT will tweak and install its AI tech called corevo, which the company says incorporates media processing with extreme accuracy in voice recognition. It will be combined with another bit of AI tech called R-env that monitors and responds to body language such as hand gestures.
For the time being, Toyota and NTT will work on a single HSR, presumably to prevent the apocalypse when it becomes self-aware and goes berserk fine-tune the system before expanding to other designs and applications. Toyota will also conduct research and field experiments to not only test the technology and its effectiveness, but to also see how people react and respond to robotic assistance. In the race to develop autonomous vehicles, robots, and AI, it's actually nice to see companies also spending time to understand how people will react to intelligent machines.
Should the research go well, we could be sharing the world with robots sooner than expected. Until then, service prototypes will be shown at NTT's booth for the CEATEC Japan exhibition, taking place October 3-6 at Makuhari Messe near Tokyo.