Folks looking for a last mile transport solution have choice-a-plenty nowadays, but the CanguRo offers more than just a comfy ride. The RidRoid robot – a mash up of ride and android – has some useful smarts cooked in, being able to follow its user around between rides, or make its way to a meeting point on its own.
Developed by Shunji Yamanaka at Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robot Technology Research Center (fuRo) in Japan, the CanguRo is designed to be a follow-me personal assistant and (slow poke) people mover. In the former mode, it's 550 mm (21.6 in) long and uses artificial intelligence smarts known as scanSLAM to generate 3D maps using data from sensors and estimate its own location within that space.
That sensor array includes 3D LiDAR, a wide angle camera and distance sensor. It runs on fuRo's own robot operating system, and can automatically follow its user around or be wirelessly controlled from a tablet or smartphone. And it can be automatically sent to a specific location, to meet its user after a meeting perhaps.
The CanguRo can also transform into a scooter-like transporter, raising the seat and lengthening the ride to 750 mm (29.5 in). It rolls courtesy of in-wheel brushless motors to the 12-inch wheels at the front and steers via the 10-inch chunky rear wheel. A top speed of 10 km/h (6 mph) and 0.93 Nm of torque isn't going to win any races, but should get its rider to the lecture hall or board room in a relaxed state.
The 64 kg (141 lb) robot ride doesn't use a display to let the rider know the speed, but an ever quickening beat from built-in haptics located under the seat. A force sensor detects rider movement to auto lean into the turn, and the futuristic-looking smart scooter sends force feedback through the handlebars to indicate turning radius. It will automatically hit the brakes if it detects a potential accident, and rocks obstacle detection and avoidance smarts.
Production-ready as this playful robot scooter looks, it's unlikely you'll see it on sale anywhere as it's a research project. But you can see the CanguRo in action in the cutesy video below.
And for another example of a "rideable robot," check out the Segway Loomo.
Source: fuRo (in Japanese)
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