In the modern era where goods and services need to be distributed quickly and efficiently, the robotics industry has seen much development in the field of autonomous vehicles and robots for the purpose of delivery. Specifically, due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the need for contactless delivery, there has been a massive growth of robot delivery. To put this into perspective, according to Mordor Intelligence, the autonomous delivery robots market was valued at USD 0.35 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 3.82 billion by 2026!
However, the present cost of onboard equipment for these autonomous delivery robots such as (and most importantly) the computer vision sensors is often too high and therefore curbs the ability for smaller companies or businesses to create or adopt cost-effective solutions. Integrant, an information technology company based out of Moscow, Russia, is looking to provide complex technologies such as robotics and autonomous vehicles to improve people’s everyday lives. Specifically, they’ve created Shuttlebot – a robotic solution for last-mile delivery using Husky UGV.
Creating Affordable Delivery Robots for Small Businesses
The goal of Shuttlebot (besides looking futuristic) is to act as a proof of concept for a technology stack (computer vision sensors and software) that allows Integrant’s partners (robot manufacturers, delivery service providers, etc.) to achieve product-market fit in the field of autonomous delivery. Solving the problem of autonomous delivery through systems like Shuttlebot would work to improve the quality of life of people, and ultimately will create new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses.
Tackling autonomous driving is a challenge that requires a strong engineering and scientific background in a variety of different fields including (but not limited to) computer vision, navigation, path planning, motion control, software development, and more. Moreover, the development of effective solutions in this field is impossible without core competencies in hardware and software, as well as in integrating the two effectively. That is why Integrant believes that the development of a cooperative cross-competency team that possesses all the necessary set of knowledge, skills, and technologies remains a core challenge.
“Clearpath’s Husky UGV is a very robust platform. It’s hard to imagine but we have been using it for more than 5 years without any additional maintenance. It works flawlessly in any weather conditions, including cold Russian winter!”
– Pavel Butov, CTO Integrant
Taking Away the Crunch – Husky UGV Expedites
What Husky UGV was then able to facilitate for Integrant was a “quick start”. They did not need to design their own chassis (which is not the goal of their project anyways) because Husky UGV provided a very reliable and flexible solution so that the team could focus on their research and start experimenting “in the field” immediately. Without such a ready-to-go platform, Integrant would have wasted a lot of time doing work that is not related to the main goals of their project with unnecessary delays. Specifically, designing a reliable chassis is a complex task that requires a lot of knowledge, time, and money – all of which Husky UGV was able to assist with.
Integrant actively used Husky UGV for the field testing of their solutions. Specifically, this involved using the robot as a base platform for testing their computer vision hardware and software in different environmental conditions such as indoor, outdoor, warehouses, etc. To achieve this, Integrant installed on-board equipment on the chassis such as navigation systems, sensors, computers and other payloads.
Shuttlebot used a wide range of sensors during R&D: various LIDARS (Velodyne, Ouster, SICK, etc.), cameras, and of course Integrant’s own SENSUM computer vision kit based on stereo cameras and high-resolution mm-wave radars. Finally, they also used edge computing platforms such as the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier. Ultimately, the excellent payload, cross-country ability, and power capacity ratio of Husky UGV allowed the team to test their equipment in a wide range of scenarios.
Husky UGV Survives Russian Weather Conditions
Combining Husky UGV as a platform and Integrant’s experienced team, they were able to develop their own game-changing computer vision system for autonomous last-mile delivery and other service robots, which is based on data fusion from Husky UGV’s integrated stereo cameras and high-resolution radars. Their SENSUM computer vision system is a robust and cost-effective solution providing autonomous driving capabilities in any lighting and weather conditions. Husky UGV was exactly what Integrant needed to actualize their project. As CTO of Integrant, Pavel Butov said, “Clearpath’s Husky UGV is a very robust platform. It’s hard to imagine but we have been using it for more than 5 years without any additional maintenance. It works flawlessly in any weather conditions, including cold Russian winter!”
But the work for Integrant is not over. Now that they have a functional platform, they hope to create a computer vision technology that will become a game-changer in the field of autonomous delivery and service robotics in general. As well, they hope to pursue new and exciting partnerships soon. Shuttlebot is but the beginning.
To learn more about Integrant, visit their website here.
To learn more about Husky UGV, visit our website here.